Turkish chief claims US bases in Greece pose direct ‘risk’ amid spat with Athens over NATO growth

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Chief of Turkey’s far-right political group the Nationalist Motion Celebration (NHP) claimed on Tuesday that U.S. army bases positioned on Greece pose a direct “threat” to Turkish safety. 

“Greece is playing with fire,” NHP chief Devlet Bahceli stated in an deal with to Turkey’s parliament, in response to a neighborhood information outlet. 

Bahceli claimed US bases pose “a threat to our security” and stated “America is using the Greek side as a pawn.”

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference, in Ankara, Turkey, on May 14. 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks throughout a information convention, in Ankara, Turkey, on Could 14. 
(AP Photograph/Burhan Ozbilici)

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The U.S. and Greece signed a five-year bilateral army settlement earlier this month in a transfer to shore up its defenses as Europe faces its biggest safety risk since World Warfare II following Russia’s invasion into Ukraine.

The settlement will grant the U.S. entry to a few bases on mainland Greece together with its long-standing naval presence on the island of Crete.

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Whereas Washington and Athens have championed the transfer, the Turkish political chief accused the U.S. of utilizing already rocky Greek-Turkish relations to attempt to “push [Ankara] into a hot conflict environment.”

Turkey and Greece have shared tense relations for roughly a century, however Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has rekindled a decades-old spat as Turkey, a NATO nation, makes an attempt to achieve political wins over the alliance.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan pissed off NATO nations earlier this month when he stated he’ll refuse admittance of Sweden and Finland into the alliance over claims they’ve allowed people he has deemed terrorists to stay of their nations. 

Some have accused Erdogan of appearing as Putin’s “Trojan horse” as he seems to dam the safety settlement amid the elevated risk going through Europe.   

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during their talks at the Kremlin on March 5, 2020, in Moscow, Russia. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake arms throughout their talks on the Kremlin on March 5, 2020, in Moscow, Russia. 
(Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Photos)

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appeared to counsel earlier this month throughout a visit to Washington, D.C that U.S. lawmakers ought to reject beforehand proposed arms cope with Ankara so long as it holds NATO hostage. 

However Turkish officers have additionally pointed to their decades-long frustration with Western allies with regards to spats with their Aegean neighbor.

Following the tip of World Warfare II greater than a dozen islands had been forcibly ceded from Axis-aligned Italy to Greece below the 1947 Paris Settlement. However by 1964 Turkey had claimed that 12 of the islands had truly been stolen from them in 1912 and recommended Greece ought to hand over six of the islands as a present of fine neighborly relations. 

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference during the NATO summit at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14, 2021.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan holds a information convention in the course of the NATO summit on the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on June 14, 2021.
(Reuters/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photograph)

Greece refused and the 2 nations have engaged in land, air and sea disputes since. 

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“The subject of 12 islands is our wound that has not yet healed. They have been unjustly usurped from Turkey by foot tricks,” Bacheli reiterated Tuesday. “The stolen property must be returned to its owner.”

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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