There was no break in growing incursions with rising tensions between the countries as Turkish F-16 fighter jets twice on Christmas Day violated Greek airspace, flying over the isles of Megisti and the larger island of island of Kastellorizo nearby, close to the Turkish coast and even into an area under the jurisdiction of Athens’ flight paths.
As usual, the Turkish planes did not, as required, file flight plans as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the US getting closer to Greece and seeking a greater military presence in the country, has been increasing provocations in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
NATO, the defense alliance to which both countries belong, has said nothing about repeated Turkish violations this year, which has also included sending warships past Greek islands, as the European Union and United Nations has also remained mum.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Greece must back off tough talk over the rule of the Aegean Sea or face the consequences and pay a “heavy price” otherwise.
Akar said that “All should know that provocations in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Cyprus will have no effect,” the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
He was referring not only to tensions with Greece but Turkey’s insistence that foreign energy companies will not be allowed to drill for oil and gas off Cyprus in waters where the are licensed, including American energy giant ExxonMobil.
That came after the chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, warned that Greece will “flatten” any Greek islet if Turkish forces land there.