Athens/Washington: – The United States has indicated an increase in deployment at its bases in Greece. Greek Foreign Minister is set to visit the United States this week. It is said that during the visit, the defence agreement between the two countries will be extended. Last month, Greece signed a comprehensive defence cooperation agreement with France. This subsequent extension of the agreement with the United States is considered a part of preparations against Turkey.
The United States has four defence bases in Greece. These include the naval base on the island of Crete and the airport on Larissa and the port of Alexandroupoli and the base on Stefanovikeio. The Greek government had proposed that the United States build another defence base in Greece. But instead, it has been decided to make additional investments to increase the capabilities of the existing operational bases. Accordingly, there are indications that the number of US defence systems and troops at these bases will be increased. Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos imparted information regarding this.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will pay a visit to the United States on October 14. He is scheduled to hold talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to finalize the defence cooperation agreement. Moreover, sources said that Greece and the United States already have a ‘Mutual Defence Cooperation Agreement’ in place; the new deal is part of extending it. There are indications that this may include some new provisions. This cooperation with the United States is seen as part of the steps taken by Greece to form an international front against Turkish activities.
Moreover, various surveys conducted in the last few years have revealed that the Mediterranean region has large oil reserves. Turkey has been making aggressive moves since last year to acquire more and more of these reserves. Turkey has begun asserting its right to the oil in the Mediterranean, between Greece and Cyprus. In August last year, Turkey launched a series of expeditions into the Mediterranean, sending research ships and warships. Greece had stepped up its defence deployment in the Mediterranean in protest of the Turkish actions.
Greece has since called for stronger strategic cooperation with France, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Egypt. There were also attempts to exert political pressure on Turkey through the European Union and NATO. Greece’s aggression and international pressure forced Turkey to withdraw. Turkey is believed to be in trouble after the Biden administration indicated support for Greece after the change of guard in the United States.
Against this background, there are signs of renewed tensions between Turkey and Greece. Greece’s strategic cooperation with other countries upset Turkey. Besides, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will try new incitements, Greek analysts claim. A few days ago, it was pointed out that Turkey sent a new ship to a maritime area near Cyprus. Turkey is expected to send fishing boats or ‘floating rigs’ to Greece’s territorial waters soon.