While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has the ear of US President Donald Trump, American Naval and Air Force units nevertheless took part in a joint military exercise off Crete.
That included a Greek frigate and submarine, as well as six F-16 fighter jets, along with American destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill, and navy helicopters from both sides said Kathimerini.
The Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) said the maneuvers also included initiatives for joint operational planning, defense, communications and information sharing, and “actively demonstrates the strong long-standing ties between the two countries.”
A statement said the exercise helped strengthen the “level of preparedness, engagement capability and cooperation” of the two sides, careful diplomatic talk to avoid saying anything of substance.
With fears of a conflict over Turkish provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, Erdogan said the US and Greece's allies would abandon the country to its fate if shooting breaks out, indicating the joint US-Greece exercises are a sideshow.
The US and Greece earlier renewed a joint military cooperation pact and annually hold the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue but media reports said Trump talks on the phone often with Erdogan whom he has called a friend and “a hell of a leader,” worrying Greek officials about which way the US would tilt.