Washington/Athens: – It has been revealed that given the tension created between Greece and Turkey, over the claims on the territories in the Mediterranean Sea, the US State Secretary will be visiting Greece. The United States informed that State Secretary, Mike Pompeo will also be visiting the US military base on the Crete Island in Greece. Only a few days ago, the US and Greece militaries held joint war exercises. The visit of Secretary Pompeo just after that is believed to be the indication that the United States stands with Greece in the Greece-Turkey dispute. There are indications that the US State Secretary will discuss regarding moving the Incirlik military base, in Turkey to Greece.
Last month, Turkey issued the Navtex alert and sent its research ship Oruc Reis, with two other ships for research in the Mediterranean Sea. A strong reaction had been received from Greece, over this Turkish announcement. Greece had warned that Turkey should stop these activities, threatening the peace and stability in the Mediterranean Sea. European Union and NATO, along with the United States, had expressed displeasure over the Turkish announcement. France had announced the decision to strengthen its defence position in the Mediterranean Sea region, with the deployment of the destroyer LaFayette and Rafale fighter jets, given the rise in the tension, owing to Turkish activities. The tension festered further, as Turkey continued with its mission.
The United States and the European Union supported Greece in the dispute and started increasing pressure on Turkey. Due to this pressure, Turkey withdrew its ships from the Mediterranean and started talks with Greece. But it is apparent from the Greece visit of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, that the United States has started activities to continue to maintain pressure on Turkey. The US state department said in its statement ‘The United States is committed to the peace and stability in the Mediterranean Sea region and the visit of the Secretary of State will accelerate the process. The US-Greece relations have become very strong, over the last few years. Greece is an important US ally in NATO and the visit to the military base is the symbol of the relationship.’
A few days ago, US Senator Ron Johnson, had claimed that the United States is searching for an alternative to the Incirlik military base, in Turkey. Senator Johnson had said that although the United States wants to maintain relations with Turkey, bilateral tension may demand rethinking regarding the military base. At the same time, he had indicated that Greece was being considered as a possible alternative. Against this background, the visit of the US Secretary of State to the military base in Greece is considered to be a direct threat for Turkey.