ATHENS – The due signing of a new Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) with the United States was accompanied by Greece’s hopes for a bigger American force in the country and more bases, especially in the northern part of the country.
Greece has been getting closer to the US in light of stepped-up Turkish provocations, including Turkey repeatedly sending fighter jets into Greek air space and claiming waters around Greek islands where it wants to drill for energy.
The agreement was ratified by a parliamentary committee and will go before the full body for a vote on May 12, backed by the ruling New Democracy government and the center-left PASOK-KINAL.
Other parties opposed it, including the major opposition SYRIZA which strengthened military ties with the US after vowing to end them, and asked for more bases it said it would oppose.
Now out of power, SYRIZA has changed tune again and said the deal, similiar to what it agreed, was no longer in Greece’s interest but only that of the US, which will use the port of Alexandroupoulis for military forces.
SYRIZA lawmaker Giorgos Katrougalos said that if the party returns to power in 2023 elections that it would renegotiate the deal although its track record is saying that and then asking for American aid instead, having it both ways.
that, when in government, his party will renegotiate the agreement, while others noted it would make Alexandroupoli a target for Russia.
Speaking during a debate in Parliament, Dendias said that extending the deal from a period of one year to five was agreed at Greece’s initiative and that an even longer agreement was sought.
“We were not doing the US any favors. We are generous toward the country’s interest. We wanted five years and I won’t hide that the government even considered 10,” Dendias said, claiming that this “makes it easier for the American administration to allocate funds for the improvement of our military facilities, which are included in the agreement.”
“We want the military presence. We did not pretend to be the ones who want the bases gone… We wanted and we still want a (US] presence in Thrace… We want the US military presence in Alexandroupoli,” he said, said Kathimerini.