The US NATO naval base at Souda Bay on Crete could take on a more prominent role in the wake of the alliance’s troubles with Turkey about using the Incirlik airbase there.
Sources told the newspaper Kathimerini that the Souda Bay base is being used a lot more than it was in the past and that activities at the base are being extended and that US and Greek Special Forces are training together in joint exercises.
A so-called mutual defense cooperation agreement between Greece and the US, which provides for the operation of Souda Bay and is renewed annually, is likely to be upgraded into a five-year agreement, sources have suggested.
That comes amid worries that tension between the US and Turkey, despite US President Donald Trump meeting in Washington with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan might affect the Aegean, where Turkey is conducting more live ammunition exercises, some in Greek waters.
There’s also been a spike in Turkish F-16 fighter jets violating Greek air space, as they do regularly with no reprimand from NATO, to which Greek and Turkey belong, and more incursions by Turkish warships, which could ramp up on May 22-23 when the Conference for Security and Stability is held on Rhodes.
The conference, taking place on the island for a second straight year, will be attended by representatives from European and Arab countries, including Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lebanon, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Libya, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
ΠΗΓΗ The National Herald