The Greek government has turned the whole country into a “huge US base,” a local lawmaker warned on Tuesday, amid attempts by Washington to expand its access to military zones across the European country.
Kleon Grigoriadis, in a speech in the Greek parliament on Tuesday, lambasted the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over its foreign policy for allowing the United States to turn the whole of Greece into a massive American base.
“At the moment, American soldiers, not Turkish soldiers, are wandering in Crete, Alexandroupoli, Larisa, and other areas left by (the left-wing party) Syriza’s old comrades to the United States. Let's be clear: Greece has now turned into a huge US base,” said the lawmaker, who is a deputy of the left-wing MeRA25 party," he remarked.
Grigoriadis warned that an atmosphere of war with Turkey has been created in the press. He said Greek citizens have been intimidated by such a perception in an attempt to make acceptable the conversion of Greece into an American military base.
The lawmaker said the Greek people should learn from history lest their country turns into a tool for big powers.
“History shows that big powers use small powers as tools and use them for their own interests regardless of the pain they may cause, as in 1922,” Grigoriadis said.
Grigoriadis’s comments almost echoed last week’s remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who objected to the presence of US bases in Greece.
“Currently, nine US military bases have been established in Greece. Whom have they been deployed against? They say that against Russia. But we won’t buy that,” Erdogan said at the time.
Turkey and Greece have been at loggerheads for years over hydrocarbon resources and naval influence in the eastern Mediterranean.
In May, Erdogan said there were nearly ten American bases in Greece, asking: “Who is being threatened with these bases? Why are these bases being established in Greece?”
Back in November 2021, he warned that Greece itself had become a US military base. “At the moment, I can’t count all the American bases in Greece, there are so many. … It almost looks like Greece itself is a US base.”
The Greek authorities recently seized a tanker carrying Iranian oil in its territorial waters, under US pressure. The oil cargo was later transferred to the US, a move denounced by Iran as an “act of piracy”.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) said in a statement that an Iranian-flagged tanker seized in April was released by Greek authorities.
“The Greek government finally issued an order and we are now witnessing the lifting of the ship’s seizure and the return of its cargo to its owner,” it said.
Iran's foreign ministry had condemned the unacceptable surrender of Greece to Washington’s illegal pressure and reiterated that the seizure was an example of international piracy.
The seizure of the Iranian oil tanker took place at a time when the US administration claims it seeks the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran deal. So far, talks for the revival of the 2015 deal have come to a standstill.
Days after the seizure, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) seized two Greek oil tankers in the Persian Gulf over violations.