Greek defense authorities recorded seven violations of national air space in the space of under half an hour on Tuesday morning by a formation of four Turkish fighter jets.
The formation of F-16s entered Athens’s Flight Information Region (FIR) 10.35 a.m. and split off into two pairs, conducting seven unauthorized overflights in the southeastern Aegean area. The last Turkish jet departed the FIR at 11.03 a.m.
The violations come in the wake of aggressive rhetoric emanating from Ankara in response to the release by Greek judicial authorities of the last four of eight Turkish servicemen wanted in that country over an attempted coup in the summer of 2016.
Following the announcement of the officers’ release into protective police custody following the expiry of their maximum pretrial detention period on Monday night, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag accused Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of going back on a pledge to ensure that the eight servicemen were extradited.
“From statements made in Greece by its prime minister right after the coup, we were of the positive opinion that they would be extradited to Turkey. Admittedly we had hope,” Bozdag was quoted by Greek media as saying of the eight soldiers who flew to Greece in a helicopter right after the failed overthrow on July 15, 2016. “We thought that Mr Tsipras would keep his word. With time, though, we saw that the judicial authorities were mobilized and these ‘putschists’ were not extradited.”
Bozdag reportedly went on to say that whatever Greek authorities do, “it is our duty to find those ‘putschist’ soldiers… pack them up and bring them to Turkey.”