Greece records 31 airspace violations by Turkish aircraft amid rising tensions


Turkish military aircraft violated Greek airspace 31 times in different parts of the Aegean on Wednesday, authorities said as tensions between Greece and Turkey. 

A total of nine aircraft, two pairs of F-16, three CN-235 transport aircraft and two helicopters entered Greek airspace in the north, central and southeastern Aegean and violated air traffic regulations 13 times.

The four fighter jets were armed. In all cases, the Turkish aircraft were identified and intercepted by Greek fighter planes in line with international rules of engagement. 

The violations came amid a spate of increasingly aggressive rhetoric from both sides of the Aegean. On Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim spoke in derogatory terms about Greece, dismissing it as "smaller than Istanbul." Meanwhile Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos declared that Ankara's provocations "don't scare us." 

"Let them claim an inch [of Greek land] if they dare," he said.