(Bloomberg) --

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized what he described as an increasing US military presence in neighboring Greece and said Ankara doesn’t believe the buildup is just about countering Russia. 

Turkey is increasingly frustrated by what it sees as growing Western military support to fellow NATO member Greece amid long-running territorial conflicts. These frictions have escalated in recent years as Turkey mobilized its navy to claim rights over potential hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean region. 

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“There are nine US bases right now. They were established in Greece. Against whom were they established? The answer they give is ‘against Russia.’ We don’t buy it, take no offense,” Erdogan said late Wednesday during a joint press conference with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Erdogan is scheduled to attend an annual Turkish military exercise on the Aegean coast later Thursday.

The US has increased its access to Greek bases since the two allies updated a mutual defense cooperation agreement between them in October 2021.

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Erdogan accused the US and European countries, without naming them, of delivering significant amounts of weaponry, planes and helicopters to Greece. He also hinted that the alleged buildup may be aimed at confronting his country.

Turkey Warns Greece Over Aegean Island Forces as Spat Grows 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday accused Greece of deploying troops on Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, urging it to comply with a 1947 peace treaty that allows only a small contingent of Greek soldiers on the Dodecanese islands.

Greece has repeatedly called on Turkey to stop questioning Greece’s sovereignty over its Aegean islands. Athens says the Turkish assertions are legally baseless and historically false, and made at the same time as it threatens Greece with war over territorial water claims.

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