U.S. Secretary of Defense “forgot” Turkey speaking to his Greek counterpart

Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper spoke by phone today with Greek Minister of Defense Nikos Panagiotopoulos to reaffirm the strong defense relationship between the United States and Greece.

The Secretary thanked Minister Panagiotopoulos for hosting U.S. forces at Souda Bay, and for our strong bilateral cooperation. This is marked, most recently, by the updating of the U.S.-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement last October, which enables opportunities to further deepen U.S.-Greek defense cooperation and advance regional security and stability.

The leaders also discussed mutual security concerns in southeast Europe and across NATO’s Southern Flank, including Russian malign influence and growing concerns from China.

Regarding the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, the two leaders agreed on the need for all parties to abide by international norms and maintain restraint. Secretary Esper recognized Greece for exceeding NATO defense spending goals, which is a vital investment into strengthening our alliance.