U.S. to boost military presence in Greece
The United States seeks to boost its military presence in Greece in part because of doubts about the dependability of Turkey, Greek daily Kathimerini reported on Monday.
The expansion of U.S deployments are being considered as relations between Greece and Turkey continue to deteriorate, Kathimerini’s sources said. A diminished confidence in Turkey’s reliability as an ally under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also considered a factor in the U.S. decision to deepen its presence in Greece.
In recent years, the U.S. military has deepened its footprint in Greece and expanded its cooperation with its Greek counterparts. Already the United States has forces stationed at the naval base in Souda Bay as well as in Crete, Alexandroupoli, Larissa and Stefanovikeio. There are plans to add four more bases, and Greece has provided 22 possible options for Washington to choose from.
The United States continues to maintain several military bases in Turkey, including Incirlik Air Base. Turkish politicians have routinely threatened to eject the United States from these bases amid disagreements with the most recent threat following Washington’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide last month.
Other disagreements include Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Russia and U.S. support for Syria’s Kurdish militants who Ankara considers terrorists.
Greece and Turkey are scheduled to engage in a new round of talks that aim to find room to resolve some of their disputes.
At the heart of the acrimony between the two neighbours is Turkey’s assertion of its control over waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean Sea where large deposits of natural gas are believed to lie. Greece and Turkey are also locked in a longstanding disagreements over maritime borders in the Aegean Sea.