Europe

Greek opposition wants suspension of ratification process of defense deal with US

Deal turns Greece into satellite of US that wants to sell F-16 jets to Turkiye, claims main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras

Ahmet Gencturk   | 12.05.2022
Greek opposition wants suspension of ratification process of defense deal with US photo credit: TRT World

ANKARA 

The Greek opposition on Thursday wanted suspension of the ratification process of the bilateral Mutual Defense and Cooperation Agreement (MDCA) between Greece and the US that was signed in October 2021.

"Unconditionally submitting to US demands," the Nea Dimokratia (New Democracy) government led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis is turning Greece from an ally into a satellite country, leader of the main opposition party SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, told the plenary session of the parliament on the MDCA.

Referring to the recent media reports that the Joe Biden administration presses the US Congress to approve an F-16 deal with Turkiye, Tsipras accused the government of giving away everything to the US without receiving anything substantial.

Particularly on the MDCA that was previously subjected to annual renewal, he criticized the amendment that extended it for another five years.

Tsipras also opposed the opening of more Greek bases -- Volos, Alexandroupoli, and Litochoro -- apart from Souda where the US Navy already operates a base, to the US military's use.

He noted that the government has abandoned the decades-old principles of the Greek foreign policy that minded the regional and global balances and rendered Greece “a front country of NATO.”

Also referring to Ankara's mediation role to end the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the warming of the Turkish-US relations, Tsipras said Turkiye's regional position has improved though the government has been claiming otherwise.

The US withdrawal of support for the EastMed pipeline project, and remarks by US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland that Turkiye should be included in energy projects in the region are other major indicators of the Greek government’s obvious failure in the foreign policy, he added.

"The Greek people do not deserve a government that leads them from defeat to defeat, both social and national," Tsipras concluded.

Defending the agreement and the government’s foreign policy, Mitsotakis, however, argued that Greece has become the main partner and interlocutor of the US in the region as a result of successes in its foreign policy.

“MDCA ceases to be a bilateral protocol and becomes a vote of confidence in Greece as an unshakable factor of stability in the region,” he added.

Mitsotakis said the country’s new position is proved by his invitation to meet with Biden on May 16-17 to be the first Greek leader to speak at the joint session of the US Senate and House of Representatives.

As to the amendments to the MDCA, he hailed them as major achievements “in a time many other NATO countries invite the US to increase its footprint on their soil.”

Mitsotakis, moreover, claimed that the agreement explicitly states the common will for the mutual protection of sovereignty and territorial integrity against any threat, even an armed attack.

Also speaking at the session, head of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Dimitris Koutsoumbas said the agreement would not protect Greece in case of an armed conflict with Turkiye.

The US is only interested in ensuring cohesion in the southeastern wing of NATO, he stressed, adding that the agreement is turning the country into a huge military base for NATO and the US.

The MDCA is expected to be ratified by the Greek parliament on Thursday night, with the government and the center-left opposition party PASOK-Movement for Change voting in favor, while the SYRIZA, KKE from the left, and the far-right Elliniki Lisi (Greek Solution) announced they will vote against the agreement.

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