NEWS

Turkey persists with violations

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Turkey, Defense, Security, Diplomacy

The recent barrage of infringements continued on Tuesday with 91 airspace violations and 27 overflights by a total of 20 Turkish F-16 fighter jets, which even flew over inhabited islands including Leros in the southeastern Aegean.

Six of Tuesday’s violations led to mock dogfights with Greek fighter jets, while concerns in Athens have been fueled by the emphatic way Ankara is revisiting its so-called gray zone theories regarding Greek sovereignty in the region.

The last time there was an overflight over a large inhabited Greek island was in 2016.

On Tuesday, Turkish jets also flew over the islet of Levitha, and the islands of Kalolimnos, Leipsoi, Arkious, Agathonisi, Oinousses and Panagia.

At the same time, Ankara maintained its pressure on Nicosia as its research vessels continue to operate within the Cypriot continental shelf.

Moreover, in accordance with a navigational telex (navtex) issued by Ankara, the Oruc Reis research vessel began seismic research on Tuesday that will last until April 10 in an area located in the Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – specifically in blocks 4 and 5.

On a diplomatic level, Athens was skeptical Tuesday regarding the moves to resolve the Libyan crisis as the participants of the Berlin Conference were finalized, with Greece being left out.

The list of participants includes the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the US, the UK, Russia,  France and China – the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the Republic of Congo, Italy, Egypt and Algeria, while the UN, the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League will have observer status.

Meanwhile, Greece has embarked on a diplomatic effort to open up channels of communication with the participants of the conference.

To this end, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will travel to Morocco Wednesday, and is expected to continue his tour of the Maghreb in the coming days, with visits to Algeria and Tunisia.

Athens is reportedly dismayed that it has been excluded from the conference even though it is impacted by events in Libya due to the maritime border pact signed between the Tripoli-based government and Ankara.

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