Erdogan takes issue with US military presence in Greece

Erdogan takes issue with US military presence in Greece

As Turkey prepares to hold annual drills on the Aegean coast on Thursday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed frustration with the increased US military presence in Greece, following the signing of a five-year defense pact between Athens and Washington in October 2021.

“There are nine US bases right now. They were established in Greece. Against whom were they established? The answer they give is ‘against Russia.’ We don’t buy it, take no offense,” Bloomberg quoted Erdogan as saying late on Wednesday during a joint press conference with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Erdogan’s comment comes amid a deepening rift with Greece – prompted by increasingly aggressive rhetoric emanating from Ankara, including threats that Turkey will challenge sovereignty of Greece’s Aegean islands – and a chill in ties with the United States and the European Union.

The Turkish president also reiterated Ankara’s opposition to the inclusion in NATO of Sweden and Finland, accusing the Nordic countries of harboring groups Turkey claims are terrorists.

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