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Erdoğan says Greece has turned into a US military base

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban hold a joint press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on November 11, 2021. (Photo by Handout / AFP)

“Greece, as a whole, has turned into a US military base,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters at a press conference with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Ankara on Thursday.

Answering a question about a recent US deployment to a military installation in Alexandroupoli, a Greek city near the land border with Turkey, Erdoğan said: “At the moment, I can’t count the number of American bases in Greece. When we put them all together, a picture emerges of Greece almost [looking] like an American [military] base.”

“Why is all this being done right now, why is it being done?” Erdoğan asked. He also accused the US administration of not acting honestly.

“When [US President] Biden and American officials are asked, they avoid answering and are not honest,” Erdoğan said, adding that he finds the position the US took with Greece in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea “wrong.”

“Think about it; we are a NATO country, the US is a NATO member, Greece is a NATO member … Why do we disagree with each other? Among NATO members, in terms of both number of soldiers and financial support, Turkey is one of the top seven countries after the United States,” he said. “Greece is far behind.”

Greece and the US signed a deal in October expanding their defense cooperation to grant the latter’s forces broader use of Greek bases and putting a US military presence just miles from Turkey.

Earlier in September, Greece signed a defense deal with France worth around 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion), including the purchase of three French frigates for the Greek navy. The agreement, which came in an environment where tensions between Greece and Turkey, both NATO members, have increased in recent years over energy exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean, includes a deal for mutual assistance in the event of an attack by a third country.

The two neighbors have been at loggerheads for decades over a series of issues, including territorial rights in the Aegean Sea, maritime and aviation boundaries and minority rights.

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