Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis highlighted the great significance of the Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) signed between Greece and the United States ahead of its ratification by Parliament on Thursday while at the same time slamming the stance of main opposition SYRIZA, which is not backing the deal, saying it makes sweeping concessions to Washington.
“The specific agreement is not just a bilateral protocol but a vote of confidence in Greece as an unshakable element of stability, as a prudent European and NATO partner that guarantees international legality in the face of any crises stirred by our neighbors,” Mitsotakis told Parliament.
What’s more, it shows Greece to be “a critical node in the new energy map.” He also linked the deal to his upcoming trip to the US.
“The invitation to meet with US President Joe Biden and the next day to be the first Greek leader to address the US Senate and House of Representatives is a great honor that states that our country is treated as an equal and consistent ally so that, if necessary, it has the right to demand consistency and solidarity,” he said.
Mitsotakis said the agreement was significant as it includes the commitment that the US presence in Greece will be renewed every five years, with the right of each side to terminate it if it deems it necessary.
Secondly, he said, this bilateral cooperation is expanding not only in time but also in space, referring to the Souda Bay base, where all the infrastructure and its overall role is being upgraded.
“Souda is the only berth in the Eastern Mediterranean where an American aircraft carrier can dock,” he noted.
Thirdly, he stressed, the deal explicitly states the common will for mutual protection of sovereignty and territorial integrity against any threat, even armed attack.
He dismissed opposition criticism regarding reports of the possible supply of new F-16s to Turkey, saying, “There are many voices in the US.”
The final decision, he said, lies with the Congress, which has so far refused to sell new systems to Turkey, as it doesn’t consider it a reliable partner. He also reminded SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras that when he visited the US in 2018 as PM, Turkey had entered the F-35 as a co-producer. He also said that Tsipras had also renewed the defense deal with the US.