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Oct 10 2018

Is the U.S. turning to Greece as an alternative to Turkey? - DW

The recent increased cooperation between the United States and Greece is a message to Ankara from Washington that Turkey is not without alternatives, Greek broadcaster Deutsche Welle Turkish reported, citing political analysts.

Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos has urged the United States to increase bilateral security cooperation with Greece, calling on the administration of Donald Trump to expand its military presence in the country. Athens and Washington are looking to strengthen economic ties, as well.

All of these developments bring the question of whether the United States is looking for an alternative strategic ally to replace Turkey amid heightened tensions between Washington and Ankara, Deutsche Welle said. 

For U.S. security expert Nicholas Danforth, these steps can be seen as reflection of The U.S.’ concerns regarding Turkey. ‘’As much as Washington would like to save relations with Turkey, concerns that this will no longer be possible are on the rise,’’ Danforth told the German broadcaster.

Increased U.S-Greece cooperation is very important in terms of the new alliances forming in the Eastern  Mediterranean where gas exploration is pointing to heightened tensions between countries, according to Ali Faik Demir of Galatasaray University.  

“The United States is giving clearing signals that in the near future it very clearly side with Athens in the case of a Turkey-Greece crisis,’’ Demir told Deutsche Welle.

The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) Director Genreral Thanos Dokos, the United States, through increased cooperation with Greece is giving a message to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, letting him know that he is not indispensible. 

Dokos maintains that the severance of Turkey’s ties with the West will de damaging to both Greece and Turkey:

 “If Turkey parts ways with the West, Greece will become a border country. It’s going to be neighbouring country to a nation which feels no need to follow rules and can export instability to Greece and Europe… Even though full membership into the EU does not appear possible in the near future, it’s very important that a connection with Turkey is maintained.’’