Turkey has continued provocations with Greece, including again sending fighter jets to violate Greek airspace – with NATO looking the other way – and a Turkish Coast Guard boat reportedly harassing a European Union Frontex border patrol vessel in the Aegean.
There were a series of overlights of Turkish F-16s in the skies above a series of Greek islands near Turkey’s coast, said Kathimerini, with regular intercepts by Greek fighter pilots who often engage them in mock dogfights.
Turkey has increased tension after earlier this year signing a deal with Libya dividing the seas between them, Turkish vessels already drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters and planning to do the same off Crete while claiming sovereignty around some Greek islands.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias spoke over the phone on Thursday with US Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland, said the paper as NATO – to which Turkey and Greece belong – said it wants no part of their confrontations at the same time the defense alliance wants to have more influence in Libya to thwart Russian interest.
North , at a time when NATO is intensifying efforts to play a key role in developments in the North African country to offset Russian influence and Turkey is aiming to extend its influence in the region.
There were 15 violations of Greek airspace above the large islands of Limnos, Lesvos, Chios and Patmos and the islets of Panagia, Oinousses, Lipsoi, Arkoi and Agathonisi, the paper said, and 79 in total.
The harassment by the two Turkish Coast Guard boats of the Frontex vessel and a Greek fishing boat occurred in the sea area east of the islets of Panagia and Oinousses, the report added, the Hellenic Coast Guard sending two vessels to the region and monitoring the Turkish boat before it veered off to Turkey’s coast.
All that happened at the same time Turkey is expected to again try to push migrants over the northern land border with Greece in a region near the Evros River, and with Turkish human traffickers continuing to send refugees and migrants to Greek islands, another 67 landing on Lesbos which is already holding more than 20,000 of them.