16:30 GMT19 September 2020
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    Commenting on reports about the US's push to expand its military presence in Greece amid Washington-Ankara tensions, political analyst Rifat Sait told Sputnik that the move would unlikely affect Turkey's interests.

    Turkish political commentator Rifat Sait, who is also a former member of the country's ruling Justice and Development Party, recalled that the US had been involved in its military clout-related activities in the Balkans for years, and that "previously it was in Bulgaria, with Greece coming to the forefront right now."

    Sait pointed out that "none of the countries, where the US increased its military presence, have achieved prosperity," adding that Washington "only exploited the territory of these countries in its interests, which ultimately led to negative consequences for these states."

    READ MORE: US Officers at Incirlik Air Base Sued By Turkish Lawyers for Terrorist Ties

    He noted that all this would ride roughshod over the interests of both Greece and the EU as a whole, with Germany and France due to be "particularly concerned about this alignment of forces."

    "On the other hand, Washington's move [to increase its military presence in Greece] will not affect Turkey which pursues an independent policy in the field of ensuring national security and possesses such a powerful instrument of influence as the Incirlik air base," Sait emphasized.

    He also suggested that such actions by the White House will not yield any results and will finally lead to "America being locked inside the Aegean region, confining itself to Greece and Bulgaria."

    READ MORE: US-Turkey Diplomatic Rift Pushes Ankara Closer to Moscow – Report

    Turkish security expert Mete Yarar, for his part, pointed to growing tensions in the Mediterranean, which he claimed had prompted the US to start building up its military clout in Greece.

    "I do not think that such plans are directly related to the [current] crisis in US-Turkish relations. I believe that these two points should be considered separately from each other. To my mind, this step by Washington was mainly caused by its concerns over the strengthening of Russia and China's positions in the Mediterranean," Yarar said.

    Paris-based political scientist Georges Prevelakis, in turn, pointed out the Greek government's readiness to cooperate militarily with the US, which is why "it is not surprising that Washington is moving forward in this direction."

    READ MORE: US Disrespect May Prompt Turkey to 'Look for New Friends and Allies' – Erdogan

    Even if the plan is implemented, it will not have a strong impact on relations between Greece and Turkey, according to Prevelakis.

    "A more important question is how these developments will affect Greek-Russian relations," he concluded.

    Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal cited US sources as saying that the Pentagon was in talks with Athens to expand the US military's operations on Greek territory, in a "potential move toward the eastern Mediterranean amid growing tensions with Turkey."

    The remarks came after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, told reporters in Athens that Greek officials were considering the expansion of US access to additional military bases in their country.

    READ MORE: Turkey Slams US Sanctions, Says Dollar Losing Status as Global Trade Tool

    All this comes against the backdrop of ever-increasing tensions between Turkey and the United States.

    Flare-ups have been high ever since US President Donald Trump recently authorized the doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkish exports after Ankara refused to release detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is accused of being involved in the failed 2016 military coup in Turkey.

    Adding fuel to the fire of bilateral tensions is Ankara's plans to buy Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, something that Washington warned might prod it to stop supplying US F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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