US Navy Will Add Second Base at Souda Bay on Crete


United States Souda Bay military base in Chania, Crete. (Photo by Eurokinissi, file)

CHANIA, Greece — While talks are ongoing for a renewed Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) between Greece and Washington it will reportedly include adding a second base for the US Navy at Souda Bay on Crete. 

Regardless of what else is decided, the base will be added, said Kathimerini, in another indication of the US expanding its military presence and Greece reaching out to counteract Turkish aggression.

The new base will be part of Greece's national operational plan that coincides with the US wanting to build militarily in the country, Greece seeing the base's expansion as allowing more warships and other vessels.

The talks so far are in technical stages with indications that the deal could be for as long as five years after regularly being renewed although the US is trying to keep a hand in Turkey as well.

The newspaper said Greece especially wants integration of the air and naval facilities on the island of Skyros in the northern Aegean Sea, which the US Armed Forces will be able to use on rotating or a fixed basis. 

Based on the existing provisions of the MDCA, the US military has, besides Souda, a rotating presence in a number of other locations, such as Stefanovikeio, the port of Alexandroupoli and Larissa Air Base. 

Greece is also said to be seeking another US base in Eastern Macedonia or Thrace (Xanthi or Chrysoupoli airport, which was once considered a stopover for NATO UAVs) as it tightens ties.

The negotiations are expected to be finalized on Oct. 14 when Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will go to Washington to sign the MDCA, a visit that will coincide with the third round of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue at that time.