Last year, Greece also finalized a bilateral defense deal with France in the wake of a tense naval standoff with fellow-NATO member Turkey in 2020. The two countries are locked in a decades-old dispute on sea boundaries and mineral rights in the eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking in parliament, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the alliances were key to the country’s defense strategy.
“We don’t have the luxury to be careless. We don’t have it. I wish we were Luxembourg, on national security issues. But we are not,” Dendias told lawmakers.
The main opposition party, the leftist Syriza, opposed the agreement, arguing that it didn't provide Athens with sufficient security guarantees.
Earlier Thursday, protesters from the Greek Communist Party unfurled banners at the ancient Acropolis against the military deal. The banners, in Greek and English, read “No to war. No to the bases of death.”