In U.S., Greece's Military Chief Says Turkey Destabilizing Aegean

Αssociated Press

FILE - US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford meets with the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, Athens, Sept. 4, 2018. (Photo by GEETHA)

The chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, told an American audience that Turkish provocations in the Aegean are destabilizing the region and international security without a word from NATO, the United Nations or the U.S.

On a visit to the United States, he was speaking during a round table discussion organized by the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank in cooperation with the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) said Kathimerini.

He also met with met with Greece’s Ambassador to the U.S., Haris Lalacos and was due to attend the third annual Counter-Violent Extremist Organizations conference for military commanders in Washington.

Earlier in October, Apostolakis told Turkey it must stop aggressions in the Aegean where Turkish warships have gone past Greek islands and fighter jets have frequently violated Greek airspace and engaged Greek pilots in mock dog fights, risking shooting confrontations.

During a meeting held on the sidelines of NATO’s Military Committee in Warsaw, he told Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler that his country should also stop human traffickers from continuing to send refugees and migrants to Greek islands, said Kathimerini.

Turkey has been housing more than a million who went there after fleeing war and strife in the Middle East, mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and who hoped to use Greece to get to more prosperous European Union countries before the borders were closed to them.

With other EU countries also reneging on promises to help take some of the overload of more than 64,000 refugees and migrants in Greece, including more than 15,000 on islands, most of those held in detention centers and camps are seeking asylum but the process has taken two years and longer, setting off frequent violence and growing tension.