U.S. moves in Greece may signal pull out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey

SOUDA, Greece — In a move considered by some analysts as punitive to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his recent aggressive actions abroad, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean, British newspaper The Times revealed that Washington is planning to pull its forces, or at least a large portion of them, out its expansive military base in Incirlik, Turkey, possibly relocating some of them to the Greek island of Crete.

During his visit to Greece this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to review the possibility of the relocation to the Greek island during a tour of the U.S. naval base at Souda Bay.

Secretary Pompeo announced that the Souda Bay base would become the home of the US expeditionary sea base, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams.

Pompeo made the announcement during joint statements with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, noting that the U.S.–Greek “military-to-military relationship has been enhanced significantly” following the signing of a Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement between the two countries last year.

In the Times report, sources stated that Pompeo’s visit to Greece represents a sign of U.S. impatience with Erdogan’s repeated provocations, most notably his insistence on purchasing the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft system despite strong opposition from the U.S. and other NATO countries.