NEWS

Turkish violations stoke Greek fears of rising tensions

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos speaks during an event on the eastern Aegean island of Icaria on Wednesday, announcing improvements to a central road that will be conducted by the military engineering corps.

TAGS: Defense, Diplomacy

Foreign Ministry officials are reportedly concerned that the recent spate of Turkish violations of Greek air space and waters with military jets and warships could lead to an escalation of tensions between the two neighbors.

The recent tensions, fueled further by last week’s repeated air space violations over Oinousses and Panaghia islands, was discussed during a cabinet meeting convened by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday.

“The government is calmly and carefully monitoring [the situation] while it is taking all the necessary actions on the diplomatic level,” the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources have told Kathimerini that the issue has already been raised at all levels, including the European Union, NATO and members of the United Nations Security Council.

Greece has repeatedly complained that Turkish overflights have increased in frequency since both countries started participating in NATO patrols in the Aegean aimed at tackling people smugglers.

Turkey is currently conducting extensive military exercises as well as mock search and rescue operations in the international waters of the central and eastern Aegean, and the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that it is keeping a close eye on the situation.

Panos Kammenos, the defense minister and leader of the coalition government’s junior partner, visited the central Aegean island of Icaria on Wednesday and is expected to pay several visits to islands in the eastern Aegean over the coming days.

Despite a lull in Turkish violations in recent days authorities said that is not cause for complacency.

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