After Monday’s release into protective custody of the last four of eight military servicemen that Ankara wants extradited, Turkish fighter jets embarked on a barrage of overflights in the Aegean on Tuesday.
A formation of four F-16s entered Athens’s Flight Information Region (FIR) between 10.45 and 11 a.m. and split up into two pairs which conducted seven unauthorized flights over the southeastern Aegean islets of Mavra, Levitha, Kinaros and Agathonisi.
Greek analysts reckoned that the overflights took place in this particular area in order to coincide with the visit to nearby Psara by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.
Meanwhile, after Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag berated Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday for going back on his alleged promise to extradite the soldiers, the Turkish Foreign Ministry Tuesday accused Athens on Tuesday of becoming “a refuge for coup plotters.”
Spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement that Ankara is determined to ensure the return of the “traitors” so that they stand trial in Turkey.
“We have often stated that we condemn Greece’s refusal to extradite the eight traitors to Turkey who plotted [the failed coup on] July 15, 2016, as we had condemned the decision of Greek justice to free and grant asylum to the first of them,” he said, adding that the decision contravenes international law and the notion of good-neighborly relations.
“We had expressed the hope that Greek justice would not repeat the same mistakes with such unilateral decisions,” he added.
Moreover, he said that the servicemen took part in a coup against democracy and that their release is not consistent with Greece’s claim to be the cradle of democracy.