‘Unacceptable provocation’: Greece, Turkey spar over Aegean airspace incursions

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Greece made a formal protest to Turkey on Wednesday involving accusations that the fellow-NATO member conducted unauthorised military flights over inhabited Greek islands.

In a statement, the Greek Foreign Ministry said: “These actions constitute a violation of Greece’s sovereignty, they are an unacceptable provocation and run contrary to fundamental principles of international law.”

On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also informed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg of the issue.

READ MORE: Greece condemns Turkey’s conviction of philanthropist Osman Kavala.

“I made it clear to the secretary-general that this type of behaviour by a NATO ally… is unacceptable,” Mitsotakis said.

“It undermines European security as well as the unity… of NATO at a time when amongst NATO members it is indispensable for all of us to remain united as we face the continued aggression of Russia in Ukraine.”

According to VOA News, Greece has also revoked Turkey’s planned participation in a May 9, Greece-hosted NATO air drill known as “Tiger Meet,” saying Turkey was “neither an ally, nor a friend.”

Greece also suspended confidence-building negotiations due to begin between Greek and Turkish diplomats next month.

In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Athens’ comments did not reflect reality, Greece was instigating tensions, and the Turkish Air Force responded to the “provocations” in accordance with engagement rules.

READ MORE: Turkish FM slams Greece over ‘defamation’ of Turkey amid Ukraine’s invasion.

“Greek Air Force have carried out provocative flights near our coasts on April 26-28, and have repeatedly violated our airspace over Datca, Dalaman and Didim,” it said, referring to resort towns on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

Turkish fighter jets.

“While Greece is the side instigating tensions, accusing our country with baseless claims is not in line with the positive agenda and good neighbourliness that was achieved recently.”

Mitsotakis met in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine became an urgent topic among NATO allies. During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to improve ties.

READ MORE: Mitsotakis and Erdogan agree to improve ties during meeting in Istanbul.

But Athens maintains that Turkey has stepped up hostile air force patrols in recent weeks to include overflights of the eastern islands.

Source: Al Jazeera.

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