NEWS

Athens tells EU of Turk violations

Concern over increasingly aggressive Turkish warplane violations of Greek air space and the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) has prompted Foreign Minister George Papandreou to write to the European Commissioner on enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, regarding the Turkish military’s behavior. Sources in Athens, however, tie this to the tug of war between the military and political leaders in Turkey. Athens was also expected to complain to Turkey following an unprecedented incident on Tuesday in which two Turkish F-16s harassed two Greek F-4s on a bombing run in a specially reserved area for military exercises in the Aegean between the islands of Lesvos and Lemnos. Officials say Turkish planes are not only carrying out more violations but are also going deeper into Greek air space. They note there were 440 air space violations in 2000, 950 in 2001, 3,200 in 2002 and 1,530 already so far this year. In 2000, there were 30 dogfights between Greek and Turkish warplanes, 50 in 2001, 1,000 in 2002 and 450 so far this year.