NEWS

Greece responds to surge in Turkey’s Aegean overflights

TAGS: Defense, Diplomacy

The escalation of Greek air space violations in the Aegean in recent weeks by Turkish fighter jets prompted a reaction on Friday from the government, which pledged to respond using diplomatic as well as defensive means.

“Greece is defending its sovereign rights in a decisive, responsible and sober manner, on the basis of the stable and solid deterrent capabilities of the Hellenic Armed Forces,” said a statement by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), which convened under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“At the same time, [Greece] remains faithful to a policy of peace, stability and cooperation in the region,” it added.

The meeting came after Turkish fighter jets violated Greek air space over the islet of Oinousses four times in as many days. In all incidents, they were chased off by Greek aircraft.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry has already lodged complaints with Ankara. It also deployed its air defense system on Chios island.

Air space violations appear to have surged since the launch of NATO’s refugee patrols in the Aegean on February 11.

Sources suggest that Turkish overflights have been picked up on the radar systems of the NATO vessels operating in the area.

Some observers had warned that Ankara would use NATO’s Aegean involvement as an opportunity to reassert its territorial claims in the region.

Online