ATHENS – In what’s become so commonplace it’s almost not news anymore, Turkish fighters jets on Nov. 10 violated Greek airspace again, without any reaction from the international community nor NATO, to which both countries belong.
This time there were six violations, defense officials said, and that it was the second day in a row that the Turkish fighters entered Greek airspace. Pilots on both sides regularly engage in mock dogfights despite fears a conflict could break out between the countries if fire is exchanged accidentally or otherwise.
The Turkish aircraft – two F-16s, a CN-235 and four helicopters – entered the Athens Flight Information Region without the proper authorization six times, Kathimerini said.
The incidents keep occurring without a word from the United States, European Union or United Nations and as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to visit Athens and meet Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras, who hasn’t said a peep about it, with critics saying he’s afraid the Turkish leader will unleash more refugees and migrants on Greek islands.
Defense officials told Kathimerini that on Nov. 2 alone Turkish aircraft invaded Greek sovereign airspace 60 times, including two helicopters that flew over the uninhabited rocky islet of Imia where the two countries also went to war in 1996 over who owned it.
The timing of Erdogan’s visit has yet to be confirmed but December 4 is believed to be the likeliest date.
It would be good if Turkey would finally decide – and we hope it will do so – to conduct itself on the basis of international legality and the principles of good neighborly relations,” said the Foreign Ministry, adding that “like every other sovereign state, Greece considers self-evident the right to take the necessary measures for the effective defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, based on the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.”