Greece move to open Alexandroupolis port to French Army

Western Thrace
Fri, 28 Jul 2023 7:52 GMT
A mid a thaw in relations with Türkiye, Greece continues close military cooperation with other countries, a move denounced by Ankara in the past. Alexandropouli (Dedeağaç), a strategic port in northeastern Greece, will be open to the use of the French Army, Greek media outlets reported this week.
Greece move to open Alexandroupolis port to French Army

Alexandropouli (Dedeağaç), a strategic port in northeastern Greece, will be open to the use of the French Army, Greek media outlets reported this week.

Konstantinos Hadzimikhail, director of the port, met a group of French army officers recently while Greek media reports say that the exploratory talks will be followed by the deployment of French military elements at the port within the next eight months.

The Greek parliament ratified a defense and security cooperation deal with France in October 2021. The deal includes a clause that stipulates the parties should provide military assistance to each other in case of an attack in said party’s sovereign zone.

Alexandropouli also hosts U.S. military installations. Türkiye eyes a new stage in ties with Greece following the election victories of Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Greece and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Türkiye and the Turkish leader has expressed hope for better ties.

However, he was also cautious against Greek moves in the Aegean. Answering a question posed by reporters on the future of Turkish-Greek relations earlier this month, Erdoğan was quoted as saying that he believed they could overcome hurdles in terms of relations but warned Greece against “provocations.” He said he had a frank discussion with Mitsotakis on the armament of Greece’s Aegean islands close to the Turkish coast and the Turkish foreign minister also had similar discussions with his Greek counterpart.

“Certainly, the (armament) issue is not entirely the work of Greece. They have friends in the White House, a lobby, that provokes Greece to that extent. This provocation led to undesirable results from time to time. (Foreign Minister) Hakan Fidan is talking to his counterpart and (chief presidential adviser) Akif Çağatay Kılıç is engaged in talks with Mitsotakis’ special representative. These contacts will transform relations,” he said.

Türkiye has repeatedly protested what it called provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent years, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaty obligations.

With Mitsotakis at the helm, Greece recently signed multiple major arms deals, including drones and missiles from Israel, Rafale jets from France, and upgrades to its F-16 fleet from the U.S. Athens also approached Washington for the potential purchase of at least 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets, and Berlin for an update to its Leopard 2 tank fleet and purchases of Lynx armored vehicles. Athens counters that the Aegean islands, which have been garrisoned for decades and lie within close striking distance of a large Turkish landing fleet, cannot be left undefended.

DailySabah

Potht: DHA

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