Turkey’s foreign ministry said the reason its military authorities requested a clearance for its fighter jets to enter Greece’s national airspace on Thursday was because they were entering the six nautical miles the country recognizes as legitimate.
“It is well-known that every State has to request clearance for the civil and military flights to use the airspace of another state,” the spokesperson of the Turkish foreign ministry, Hami Aksoy, said in a press release on Thursday.
“It goes without saying, Turkey recognizes six nautical miles of national airspace of Greece and thus requests clearance in accordance with international customs and rules for ferry/transport flights to and over Greece. This is not a new practice,” he added.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Kammenos claimed that Turkish military authorities had submitted “for the first time” a request to enter Greek airspace. He described the event as “particularly positive,” saying Turkish fighter jets usually chose to violate Athens’s FIR and not submit flight plans.
At present, territorial waters of both Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea extend six nautical miles off their coasts.
Turkey has threatened Greece with war if it extends them to 12 miles in the Aegean.
Greece’s former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias announced last October that the country had plans to increase its western maritime borders to 12 nautical miles.