Ankara proceeded with a fresh escalation of tension with Athens on Wednesday, with more fighter jet overflights in the Aegean and new threats from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who warned Greece to “behave.”
Speaking to his AK Party’s parliamentary group, Erdogan made his comment during a reference to Turkey’s Tayfun (Typhoon) ballistic missile project.
Noting that Turkey did not make such weapons in the past, he stressed that “we are building them in such a way that Greece is panicking” and claimed that they are making headlines in Greek newspapers. The Tayfun, he said, has a range of 561 kilometers.
“I told my colleagues that this was not enough, we have to increase it to 1,000 kilometers. Of course, when this news was broadcast, what did the Greeks start saying? ‘They’re going to hit Athens’,” he said, warning: “Behave yourself. We have no business with Athens… We don’t touch those who don’t touch us.”
At the same time, provocations continued in the Aegean on Wednesday with Turkish F-16 fighter jet formations entering the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) without filing a flight plan and violating Greek national airspace. They flew repeatedly above the islets of Panagia and Oinousses. The Turkish fighter jets were identified and intercepted, in accordance with international rules.
Meanwhile, there is concern across the Atlantic over the possibility of Erdogan meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Al-Assad.
“Our policy … has not changed. We do not support countries upgrading their relations or expressing support to rehabilitate the brutal dictator, Bashar Al-Assad,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press conference.