Greece Analysis Greece-US Defense Cooperation

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo s


WASHINGTON

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Greece, including an increasingly-watched naval base, to kick off a four-nation tour of Europe, the State Department announced Thursday.

Pompeo will depart the US on Sept. 27 and return over a week later on Oct. 5.

In Greece, Pompeo will meet with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias "to renew our shared commitment to advance security, peace and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean and celebrate the strongest U.S.-Greek relationship in decades," department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Pompeo will also visit the city of Thessaloniki to sign a bilateral technology agreement and meet with commercial energy sector leaders "for a discussion to highlight energy diversification and infrastructure projects in Greece."

He will then travel to Souda Bay on the island of Crete. There he will visit the US naval facility "to underscore the strong U.S. security partnership with NATO Ally Greece," Ortagus said.

The visit comes on the heels of bombshell comments from US Senator Ron Johnson who suggested earlier this month that the US is building up the naval installation as a looming replacement for its presence at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.


Johnson said during an interview with the Washington Examiner newspaper the US wants "to maintain our full presence and cooperation in Turkey” but said bilateral tensions are prompting officials to expedite a withdrawal.

“I don’t think we want to make that strategic shift, but I think, from a defensive posture, I think we have to look at the reality of the situation,” he said. "We're already looking at Greece as an alternative.”

The Pentagon quickly pushed back on the comments when asked about the matter by Anadolu Agency. Spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell said the US "has no plans to end our presence at Incirlik Air Base."

"The U.S. has operated at Incirlik Air Base for decades at the invitation of the Turkish government, and our continued presence there demonstrates the ongoing and strong relationship between the United States and our NATO Ally Turkey,” Campbell said in an email exchange.

Following his travels in Greece, Pompeo will visit Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and address a symposium at the Vatican on religious freedom and meet with Catholic officials.

Pompeo will then head to Croatia on Oct. 2 to meet with officials to "discuss opportunities for closer cooperation between the United States and Croatia in key areas of mutual concern, including defense cooperation, the growing U.S.-Croatia investment relationship, and Croatia’s strong efforts to advance Western Balkan integration," Ortagus said.

 

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reassures Athens of strong defence relations as it faces standoff with Ankara

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits the Greek frigate Salamis at the Naval Support Activity base at Souda, on the Greek island of Crete, Tuesday, September 29, 2020. AP


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday that the US Navy is moving its giant USS Hershel “Woody” Williams sea-base ship to the Souda Bay military base in Greece.


Speaking from the base on the Greek island of Crete, Mr Pompeo assured Athens of strong defence relations with the US as Greece faces a stand-off with Turkey.


“Today, I have an announcement that the prime minister foreshadowed, where the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, the US Navy’s newest expeditionary sea base … will call Souda Bay home,” he said.


“It’s literally the perfect choice in light of the facility’s strategic location and it’s symbolic of a defence partnership that will continue to expand and to grow."


A senior US official said the move was a long-term investment in US military on the Mediterranean.




“We are leveraging the unique asset that Souda Bay provides: its geographic location in this dynamic Eastern Mediterranean region; outstanding support from our Hellenic Armed Forces hosts; and the ability to quickly deploy into an active theatre," the official said.


He said Souda Bay would be used as "a gas station, replenishment site, a place to swap crews while maintaining the operational effectiveness of our military assets".

 

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In a disturbing turn, it is reported that Greece’s Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) may have to forfeit its agreement to replace parts in its own aging fleet of F-16 jets due to management and staffing issues within the company.
The Greek company was obliged to provide parts to Lockheed after signing a $279.7 million contract with the US’ Lockheed Martin for the upgrading of its own aircraft as part of a subcontractor deal.
According to Greek media reports, the problems at the EAB are serious enough at present to imperil the delivery of the much-needed parts and the situation must be resolved as soon as possible.
If the situation at the EAB is not addressed, Lockheed Martin will be forced to drop the firm as a main source for the parts and launch a bidding process for them elsewhere. Prospective areas where the needed aircraft parts might be sourced include Bulgaria, Slovakia, Taiwan, Bahrain and Morocco, according to Greek media reports.

In response, Greek Development Ministry chief Adonis Georgiadis, promised that the issues would be resolved by the end of 2020. The problems at the firm reportedly include infighting that has made the naming of a new director impossible and strikes by its employees over reduced benefits.
The company is calling for the resolution of the problems by way of adding an additional 250 workers to the Lockheed Martin program, up from the 350 who currently work in it.
The EAB may have to forfeit much of its scheduled work, as 80% of its current workload involves Lockheed Martin projects, including C-130-J transport planes, upgrades to the Navy’s P-3 aircraft and work on 84 F-16s, which would be upgraded to “Viper” class as well, which was scheduled for 2021.
When the contract for the upgraded F-16s was signed, it had been brought to light that Turkey was attempting to purchase the US-made F-35, which would be more advanced aircraft than Greece’s fleet of F1-6s.
The Associated Press at that time reported that the cost for the upgrades might reach $1.5 billion.
As tensions continue to mount over Turkey’s provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece’s new Democracy government upped its spending, allotting a 500-percent increase in its defense budget for next year, amounting to a staggering 2.5 billion euros, or $2.96 billion.

 
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According to information from the newspaper "Eleftheria" , the technical inspection for the construction of the new hangars that will house the flying tanks KC-135 of the US Air Force at the airport of the 110th Fighter Wing (AM) in Larissa has been completed. The study was carried out by a technical company on behalf of the US Air Force and the completion of the audit means the start of construction work next summer.

The study for the relocation of American aircraft is provided by the amended Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) signed between the governments of Athens and Washington and includes the use of other facilities in Greece. Among the latter are the 111 AM in Nea Anchialos, where work will be carried out by the American company Lockheed Martin in the context of the upgrade of the Greek F-16s, as well as at the helipad at Stefanovikio, headquarters of the 1st Hellenic Army Air Brigade providing facilities to the 101st Airborne Combat Brigade, supporting the US 101st Airborne Division.

Larissa Airport hosts the Greek F-16C / D Block 52+ of the 337th Squadron as well as the Pegasus II Block I Reconnaissance Aircraft (AMS) for the period 2018-2019 hosted for a short time the American ACE MQ-9 Reaper while is also a possible headquarters of the MEA Heron that will be leased from Israel on behalf of the Greek Air Force. The deployment of US tanker pilots is linked to the reorganization of the US Air Force, which is gradually and cautiously leaving the Incirlik base in eastern Turkey, redeploying its forces. The hosting of large aircraft required the construction of new storage and maintenance hangars that will be done very soon.

Permitted actions for U.S. forces at these facilities include training, refuelling, temporary maintenance, storage and emergency response.

 

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Thracian Cooperation - 21
Units of the XXV Armored Brigade "2nd Cavalry Regiment - Ephesus" and units of the 1st Armored Division of the US-Europe Forces Command carried out an exercise called "Thracian Cooperation - 21" in the field of exercises Petrochori. The exercise took place from Thursday 11 to Friday 19 March, in the framework of international collaborations with friendly and allied countries planned by the General Staff of National Defense. The "Thracian Cooperation - 21" was conducted using systems of simulation of regular engagements and included training in tactics and control - fire management with simultaneous examination of logistics issues. The final phase of the exercise was attended by the Chief of the General Staff of the Army (Lieutenant General Charalambos Lalousis), the Inspector General of the Army & Doctrine Commander (Lieutenant General Angelos Ilaridis), the Commander of the 1st Army (Lieutenant General Petros Demestihas), the Commander of the Fourth Army Corps (Lieutenant General Angelos Houdeloudis) and from the American side the US Consul General in Thessaloniki Elizabeth Lee, the Deputy Commander of the US-Europe Forces Major General Joe Jarad and the US military attaché to Greece Colonel Robert Reeder.
 
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Discussions with Washington foresee five-year extension to defense deal, more American bases​


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Greece’s alliance with the United States is expected to be further cemented with an extension of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, scheduled to be signed at the end of September or early October.


Kathimerini understands that negotiations between the sides, which have not yet been finalized, will stipulate a five-year extension, instead of one year, which has been the case since 1990 when the bilateral deal was first signed.

The time frame and its extension, which the American side reportedly asked for, has been a point of contention between the two sides in previous years. What has changed this year is the new international environment. Developments in Afghanistan and the destabilization of the wider region have prompted Washington to seek stabler alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean region, with Greece at the forefront.

Given Turkey’s perceived increased role after the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, analysts believe it is the ideal time for an upgrade of Greek-American relations to convey the pivotal role Athens plays in the region.


Apart from the extension, the other significant issue that is expected to be included in the new agreement is an upgrade of American bases in Greece as well as an increase in their number and locations.

According to sources, there have been discussions to expand the Larissa base in central Greece to include unmanned aerial vehicles. The first demonstration of MQ-9 drones by the US firm General Atomics Aeronautical Systems took place at the 110th Combat Wing in Larissa back in December 2019. The drone can have seamless cooperation with the Greek F-16 and can also interconnect with all NATO systems, upgrading the country’s defenses.

Discussions also foresee the inclusion of two new locations: one in Evros, most likely in Xanthi, modeled on the one at Alexandroupolis – both in northern Greece – and another in the Aegean, probably in Skyros. These are two locations where Greece wants an increased American footprint and have been the topic of frequent discussion in the past among 23 other locations.

At the same time, the upgrade of another port in northern Greece is under consideration, most likely Kavala, where American forces can be stationed.


Greece is also seeking to secure a US commitment to ensure the peaceful settlement of disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

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The prospect of a renewed Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between Greece and the United States – possibly extended over five years – is an extremely important development, given the challenging geopolitical setting where events both in the immediate vicinity but also in more distant lands that may nevertheless affect us, are creating a growing sense of insecurity.


The US-Greece relationship has acquired its own momentum and, more importantly, is able to progress under different administrations in Washington (and majorities in Congress) and Athens.

Up until a few years ago, American decision makers regarded Greece with some skepticism (the approach was similar in Israel too) because of successive Greek governments’ efforts not to appear too pro-American in the eyes of a public known for decades for its knee-jerk, anti-American reaction and, at best, for marked suspicion of the US. This was due to specific American interventions in Greek domestic affairs in the past, but also due to the widespread belief that Washington favored Ankara and, by extension, tolerated actions that irked Athens and harmed Greece’s national interests.

The situation has since changed radically and the overwhelming majority of Greek political parties are in favor of closer ties with the US, including in defense. Indeed, we even saw a left-wing government promoting the bilateral strategic ties and even a defense cooperation agreement.


A similar shift in sentiment toward Greece is also evident across the political spectrum in Washington, and is confirmed in the reports and analyses of numerous think-tanks.

The defense deal being negotiated is a part of this deepening of ties. The next steps in what effectively creates a shield for Greece, is the ongoing upgrade of its fleet of F-16 fighter jets, moves such as the installation and operation from Greek territory of drones, as well as the creation of new bases in strategically important areas like Evros and Skyros, which, if realized, will also contribute toward increasing the country’s deterrence abilities.

As Greece has emerged as a serious and reliable ally for the US, the latter has every reason to strengthen its partner while at the same time making clear its support for its territorial integrity and for its ability to carry out its potential role as a pillar of stability in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean, something that would simultaneously serve US interests.

 

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WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Greece and the United States signed on Thursday an agreement which renews a long-standing defence cooperation among the two countries.

The two NATO allies, with strong political and economic ties, renewed their agreement for five years.

The United States has several military bases in Greece and the amendment will allow their defence agreement to "remain in force" indefinitely, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a news conference in Washington, alongside Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

"We're strengthening our defense cooperation today," Blinken said. "This update will allow the agreement to remain in force indefinitely. And it enables our forces in Greece to train and operate from additional locations."


Dendias said that U.S. commitment to Greece showed that both countries are firmly determined to mutually safeguard and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other.

The deal comes a few weeks after Greece signed a new defence pact with France that will allow them to come to each other's aid in the event of an external threat, but which has stirred further tensions with Turkey.

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https://www.reuters.com/world/europ...-with-us-protect-sovereignty-both-2021-10-14/
 

Trakya_forever

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It is really nice for Greece. Congratulations. You can sleep well after that. However, during the ceremony, Dendias speech interested me. He said that our sovereignty is under attack. This agreement will save us. Something like that.

It is really ridiculous to say that while delivering your sovereignty to another state willingly. If the threat of Greece is Turkey, we have no plans to set up lots of bases on your land or invading your bases, but somebody has I guess.
 

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It is really nice for Greece. Congratulations. You can sleep well after that. However, during the ceremony, Dendias speech interested me. He said that our sovereignty is under attack. This agreement will save us. Something like that.

It is really ridiculous to say that while delivering your sovereignty to another state willingly. If the threat of Greece is Turkey, we have no plans to set up lots of bases on your land or invading your bases, but somebody has I guess.
I'm sorry but this kind of thinking is really stupid and fallacious. That's like inviting someone to stay over at your house for a few weeks because you are afraid of you neighbour's threats that he will forcefully come in to your house, break in and merge your house with his ; and then your neighbour's response to this is " I have no plans to come in to your house, but sombody else has come in already. You are giving up your freedom to another person willingly". Also I am tired of Turk nationalists keep making fun of Greece for becoming "the U.S's slave" because we let them use 3 small military bases and one navy one, while Turkey has a whole Air Base built by the U.S and used as the home of the USAF 39th Air Base Wing, while also housing 50 Nuclear Warheads for the U.S.

You call Greece dependant on the U.S while Turkey's entire air force is dependant on the U.S with all 286 of it's Fighter Planes being American and Erdo's latest request for 40 MORE American planes and 80 modernization kits while pouring 6$ BIllion Dollars from the Turkish Economy into the U.S, goes completely against the doctrine of "Greece Slave, Turkey Strong and Independent Economy and Military Powerhouse" .

I find it extremely absurd and hilarious that Turkish nationalists advise Greece to stop being the U.S's slaves while the U.S's and Turkey's entire economic and political relationship was the U.S using them for their geographical position and size while selling them weapons in return for Turkey bowing down to U.S's reign and not Russia's.

Heck, Erdogan's entire strategy is like a b*tchy girlfriend being on a break with her boyfriend and whenever her boyfriend refuses to meet her to discuss her insane demands, she keeps making post on how she can be Independent or start dating Russia, all 3 countries fully knowing the U.S's will tolerate these insane stunts because Turkey offers such advantages to the U.S that Turkey would never actually completely leave the U.S.
 
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Pantelis

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I'm sorry but this kind of thinking is really stupid and fallacious. That's like inviting someone to stay over at your house for a few weeks because you are afraid of you neighbour's threats that he will forcefully come in to your house, break in and merge your house with his ; and then your neighbour's response to this is " I have no plans to come in to your house, but sombody else has come in already. You are giving up your freedom to another person willingly". Also I am tired of Turk nationalists keep making fun of Greece for becoming "the U.S's slave" because we let them use 3 small military bases and one navy one, while Turkey has a whole Air Base built by the U.S and used as the home of the USAF 39th Air Base Wing, while also housing 50 Nuclear Warheads for the U.S.

You call Greece dependant on the U.S while Turkey's entire air force is dependant on the U.S with all 286 of it's Fighter Planes being American and Erdo's latest request for 40 MORE American planes and 80 modernization kits while pouring 6$ BIllion Dollars from the Turkish Economy into the U.S, goes completely against the doctrine of "Greece Slave, Turkey Strong and Independent Economy and Military Powerhouse" .

I find it extremely absurd and hilarious that Turkish nationalists advise Greece to stop being the U.S's slaves while the U.S's and Turkey's entire economic and political relationship was the U.S using them for their geographical position and size while selling them weapons in return for Turkey bowing down to U.S's reign and not Russia's.

Heck, Erdogan's entire strategy is like a b*tchy girlfriend being on a break with her boyfriend and whenever her boyfriend refuses to meet her to discuss her insane demands, she keeps making post on how she can be Independent or start dating Russia, all 3 countries fully knowing the U.S's will tolerate these insane stunts because Turkey offers such advantages to the U.S that Turkey would never actually completely leave the U.S.

Turkey gets the reward for its wrong political decisions. It became a lonely country and became aggressive(we just sent the ball into the goal). Today, those who are disturbed by the relations between Greece and the United States want Turkish United States relations to be the same as before.
 

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Turkey gets the reward for its wrong political decisions. It became a lonely country and became aggressive(we just sent the ball into the goal). Today, those who are disturbed by the relations between Greece and the United States want Turkish United States relations to be the same as before.


American pressure to bring war to black sea is always blocked by Turkey, if tommorow war breaks out between super powers your country will be the first hit by Russians :D . When they fight Greec will be hit, when they leave they will even not look back like Afghanistan lol....


American using Greec, you people deserve it. Your maximalist behaviour claiming 100% of agean sea, you will never be the energy hub of EU. Put that in your head...
 

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Turkey gets the reward for its wrong political decisions. It became a lonely country and became aggressive(we just sent the ball into the goal). Today, those who are disturbed by the relations between Greece and the United States want Turkish United States relations to be the same as before.
"whatever is in the paramount priorty for u greeks isnt of priority for anyone else" that is something u need to thoroughly understand, no one is going to go to war for u.
 

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American pressure to bring war to black sea is always blocked by Turkey, if tommorow war breaks out between super powers your country will be the first hit by Russians :D . When they fight Greec will be hit, when they leave they will even not look back like Afghanistan lol....


American using Greec, you people deserve it. Your maximalist behaviour claiming 100% of agean sea, you will never be the energy hub of EU. Put that in your head...
Once Again completely dodging any arguments and going on a barbaric rant. There are so many things wrong with your statement but I will once again stick to my main point: You ignored my entire previous comment and you are acting like Turkey is anti-American and will not get hit by Russia while completely ignoring how Turkey is reliant so much on the U.S , that not even TWO WEEKS AGO reports have surfaced of Turkey is once again trying to spend BILLIONS on US equipment.
But since I see this is a sour topic for you and you probably either won't want to talk about it or go again on random barbaric rants with no bases on logic, we can change the topic to why do you think Greece is "Maximalistic".
Turkey as a nation who wasn't even in Istanbul 600 years ago, who kicked the Greek inhabitants of Anatolia who have lived there since 1200BCE location is acting like Greece is "Maximalistic" to claim the Agean sea in which the Greek langague has been spoken in the territory for over 3500 years.
I'm not using the argument of Anatolia to claim Anatolia as Greek, I'm using it to show how absurd it is to kick the original Inhabitants from their home into a smaller territory and then have the twisted way of thinking that they are also being unfair by not granting you part of the area which they have been inhabiting for over 3000 years.
 

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Once Again completely dodging any arguments and going on a barbaric rant. There are so many things wrong with your statement but I will once again stick to my main point: You ignored my entire previous comment and you are acting like Turkey is anti-American and will not get hit by Russia while completely ignoring how Turkey is reliant so much on the U.S , that not even TWO WEEKS AGO reports have surfaced of Turkey is once again trying to spend BILLIONS on US equipment.
But since I see this is a sour topic for you and you probably either won't want to talk about it or go again on random barbaric rants with no bases on logic, we can change the topic to why do you think Greece is "Maximalistic".
Turkey as a nation who wasn't even in Istanbul 600 years ago, who kicked the Greek inhabitants of Anatolia who have lived there since 1200BCE location is acting like Greece is "Maximalistic" to claim the Agean sea in which the Greek langague has been spoken in the territory for over 3500 years.
I'm not using the argument of Anatolia to claim Anatolia as Greek, I'm using it to show how absurd it is to kick the original Inhabitants from their home into a smaller territory and then have the twisted way of thinking that they are also being unfair by not granting you part of the area which they have been inhabiting for over 3000 years.

Anatolia does not belong to you. Just like the Turks you guys were newcomers too.

Ancient Anatolians themselves were not even the original inhabitants as the original inhabitants were the Pre Anatolian peoples.

Anatolia has been conquered and settled by various civilisations and empires.

Only the Turks became the winner in the end. So go cope and seethe about it.

Turkey was built by the Turks not greeks or armenians. Its our land end of story since 1071.
 

Ryder

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If only the Seljuks took Constantinople earlier under Malik Shah I.

We should have ended the cursed Byzantine Empire earlier on too bad he got assasinated by the hashashin druggies and his empire fell apart after his death.
 

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