A day before arriving in Athens US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew used the political situation in neighboring Turkey – “Turkish turmoil” – to argue in favor of a Debt Relief for Greece.
In an interview to Financial Times, Lew said
“I would hope [the recent regional upheaval] would change the climate in which discussions of debt relief happen, just because it’s the right thing to do on its own, and at a time when Greece is in a position [of] geopolitical significance that’s a good time to reinforce their fiscal future,” Lew told the FT.
“You have to fix the foundation to have a strong Greece,” he said, and called on the Greek government to become more proactive in implementing reforms demanded by the country’s creditors.
Lew also noted that Greece’s pivotal role as a transit point for refugees heading towards Europe from Syria, Iraq and other strife-torn countries had led to a renewed focus on the country’s geopolitical significance.
According to Kathimerini, the Greek government views Lew’s statement as an opportunity to highlight the significance of the country’s geostrategic position in its talks with creditors.
“Sources close to Tsipras indicated that the premier welcomed Lew’s comments to the FT. The US official’s visit is being viewed more broadly as an opportunity to promote Greece as having a more significant role in the region.
Washington has long argued in favor of lightening Greece’s debt load. And Lew’s comments, made public yesterday via an interview with the Financial Times, indicated that the upheaval that has followed a failed coup in Turkey consolidates the argument for offering greater support to Greece.”
Thursday morning Lew is meeting with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Eocnomy Minister Giorgos Stathakis, a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is scheduled for 2 o’clock.
PS Given the official/unofficial Turkish claims that “the USA was behind the coup attempt”, I must say that the US administration was quick to react and publicly fondle Greece thus sending a message to Erdogan. In the long history of conflicts between the two neighboring countries and NATO members, both Greece and turkey were competing for the favor of Washington. And now it seems that the USA is American diplomacy is holding high and waving the Greek card so that Erdogan can see it.