The State Department has managed to link the tension between Greece and Turkey to Russia. State Department spokesman Ned Price dodged a question about Ankara's accusations against Greece of militarization of Greek islands, referring to 'Russian aggression'.
Asked if the U.S. was concerned about tension or escalation instigated by Greece, Price replied, 'Our basic premise is that at a time when Russia has once again invaded a sovereign state and the transatlantic community and the international community is standing with the people of Ukraine and against Russian aggression, now is not the time for statements or any actions that could raise tensions between NATO Allies. We continue to encourage our NATO Allies to work together to maintain peace and security in the region and to resolve any differences they may have diplomatically.'
Asked about the U.S. position on ownership of the Greek islands, he reiterated that the U.S. encourages 'Again, it is – we are encouraging our NATO Allies to resolve any disagreements they may have diplomatically.'
Turkey has stepped up provocative rhetoric against Greece to the point of threatening invasion.
Ankara and Athens have disagreed on a number of issues, including maritime borders, for decades. The latest spike in tensions between Turkey and Greece was triggered by Ankara's accusation of Athens' militarization of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea with demilitarized status, which Athens rejects.
Having demilitarized status, which Athens rejects.
Over the weekend, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that "the situation gives [Turkey] the right to self-defense and calls into question the sovereignty of the islands."