Turkish violations keep Greece on standby

Despite recent meetings with top-ranking Turkish government officials and the mutual expression of good intentions from both sides, Greek authorities remain on standby following a spike in violations of Greek air space by Turkish fighter jets, Kathimerini understands.

Turkish aircraft entered Greek air space without clearance a total of 81 times within the space of three weeks in December following a period of relative calm, putting Greek defense officials on edge.

Turkish violations during Greek pre-election periods are not unusual and there are many who believe the Turkish show of force is more a message to Turks rather than Greeks by Ankara which faces its own domestic upheaval. However, with Greece bracing for fresh political and financial upheaval as snap elections loom, the Turkish overflights, and the return of a Turkish seismic vessel to Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, remain serious causes of concern.

“Anything that is repeated more than once is not a coincidence,” a Hellenic Air Force official remarked.

Turkey’s recent behavior in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean was a key focus of discussion at a meeting between outgoing Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Defense Minister Nikos Dendias and Greece’s military leadership, Kathimerini understands.