In every public speech, US ambassador to Athens, Geoffrey Pyatt continues to emphasize the importance of the port of Alexandroupolis for US interests and NATO’s plans in the Mediterranean and in Southeast Europe.
Currently, the privatization of this little Greek port, close to the border with Turkey, in Western Thrace, and only a few tens of kilometers from Bulgaria, is being discussed, and a number of very powerful candidates are showing interest.
The ambassadors of the United States, Russia, China and others are competing to use any occasion to visit Alexandropolis and inform themselves of the events, in order to be ready to make their claims when the day for the tender comes.
Despite the fact that the port of Alexandroupolis was considered rather marginal and was mainly used by fishermen fishing in the Aegean with their boats, the big geopolitical players, especially the Americans, have appreciated its significance for future events in the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking recently at the 7th Exposec-Defense World Congress in Athens, the US diplomat said that this particular port is of great importance to his country because it yields great opportunities both for its good rail connections and for the road networks available in area.
“From both security and economic point of view, it makes sense for this port to be further developed and I am absolutely committed to finding a US investor to contribute to its privatization, which is going ahead”, he said.
Whenever Athens decides to proceed with its sale, Americans will try to become investors. It’s not just about the US liquefied gas that will be transported by sea to Alexandroupolis and delivered via pipelines (IGBs) further on through Bulgaria to other Balkans countries and Central Europe. Within their broader global plans in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, the Americans are planning to turn Alexandroupolis into an alternative channel for circumventing the Bosphorus. They see it as a port that can be expanded and modernized. It is relatively close to the Black Sea coast, there are already plans for rail and road connection between it and the ports of Varna and Bourgas in Bulgaria, which is considered the most pro-American country in Southeast Europe.
In the event of a Black Sea crisis, this Greek port and its planned rail connection to Bourgas and Varna may operate as a bypass for the allied Alliance forces if Turkey, in violation of the Montreux convention, closes the Bosphorus Strait in agreement with its Russian allies
Consequently, in the event of a Black Sea crisis, this Greek port and its planned rail connection to Bourgas and Varna may operate as a bypass for the allied Alliance forces if Turkey, in violation of the Montreux convention, closes the Bosphorus Strait in agreement with its Russian allies.
US military helicopters are already based in the area of the port of Alexandroupolis, where a military base is about to begin to function. In this way the port, with the necessary activities and infrastructure, will become a tool of highest military significance for the West.
The Americans “lost” a few years ago the comfortable port of Thessaloniki, which, after its privatization, was taken over by Russian interests, and now they cannot afford the same thing to happen with the port of Alexandroupolis.
Geoffrey Pyatt uses every opportunity to publicly claim that the money invested in the port of Thessaloniki is “gray”, making it clear that Russia is hiding behind it, and there is reason to speak out.
With its harbor, Thessaloniki has historically been the “gateway” for transporting Western troops into warring regions of the Balkans. The most recent examples are those of the First World War, when Adad’s troops moved from there to be deployed on the Macedonian front, as well as during the 1999 Kosovo crisis when NATO’s peacekeeping troops used its facilities to transport troops and military equipment.
Now, with the Russian presence, even in the form of an “innocent” financial investment, the Americans don’t seem to feel so comfortable and their interest is directed to Alexandroupolis, which also has many advantages because of its geographic location.
The West wants to keep the Bosphorus open in order to have access to the Black Sea, where a mighty Russian fleet is based, ready to intervene if necessary to protect Moscow’s interests in the event of a crisis in the Mediterranean
Indeed, there are lots of very alarming messages for the wider region, where tensions from Ukraine to the Aegean Sea, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Sea can escalate at any moment in a most dangerous way. The West (Americans and NATO) want to keep the Bosphorus open in order to have access to the Black Sea, where a mighty Russian fleet is based, ready to intervene if necessary to protect Moscow’s interests in the event of a crisis in the Mediterranean. They want it open also in case of an urgent need to help Ukraine as well as Georgia if those allied to the West countries are threatened by Putin’s Russia.
Of course, free shipping through the Straits (the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles) is guaranteed by the Montreux convention, but in the event of a crisis of uncontrollable proportions and if Turkey and Russia “barricade” the straits, the West’s access to the Black Sea and the “hot” areas is interrupted. And it can be restored only by using an alternative corridor.
Which one can it be? Alexandroupolis with its port seems to win the US ranking, being the safest and the shortest. Especially now that US-Turkish relations go from bad to worse, and Erdogan does not hesitate to threaten that if necessary, he will close the Bosporus Strait.
As far as the Greek side is concerned, it obviously looks favorably on such a deal since US-Greek relations are going through their best period
All this is visible and, moreover, well known to Mr. Pyatt, and this is why he is in a hurry working for the passing of the port of Alexandroupolis into American hands.
As far as the Greek side is concerned, it obviously looks favorably on such a deal since US-Greek relations are going through their best period.
The United States do not hesitate to speak out openly about the escalating uncertainty in the relations between Washington and Ankara and to stress that Greece is already their important strategic partner in the Eastern Mediterranean, along, of course, with Israel, Egypt, and further north with Bulgaria and Romania.
They also do not hide their will to arm Athens with modern military systems and to use its territory and ports for their plans. And the government of Alexis Tsipras, taken out of the context of the political matrix of anti-Americanism, seems content, feeling that the US military presence in Greece also guarantees its security against the centuries-old enemy – Turkey.