US and Greece Sign New Defense Pact

Deal Means New US Military Bases, Pompeo Calls on Turkey to Stop Illegal Drilling

The U.S. and Greece signed a revised defense cooperation pact on Saturday, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called a "pivotal point for Greek-American relations." Greece agreed to an indefinite deal with the US that does not need to be renewed each year.

The US military is expected to expand the Sixth Fleet’s base on the Greek island of Crete and also build new drone bases in central Greece.

The US will also establish a new naval and air force base in northeast Greece for the purpose of supplying NATO allies Bulgaria and Romania. The current route to supply these NATO allies is through the Bosphorus strait, which is controlled by Turkey.

Tensions have increased in the Eastern Mediterranean since Turkey sent a drillship to drill for gas in waters claimed by Cyprus. The waters around Cyprus are contested, especially since Ankara claims a northern section of Cyprus is part of Turkey.

Pompeo has taken a clear side in this dispute and said on Saturday, "We’ve made clear that operations in international waters are governed by a set of rules. We’ve told the Turks that illegal drilling is unacceptable."

Protesters gathered in Athens to demonstrate against Pompeo’s meeting. The protests ended at the US embassy where demonstrators burned US and NATO flags. Protesters were seen carrying banners that read, "Pompeo Go Home – No to the Greece-USA Agreement."

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.