More Turkish overflights keeping Athens on edge

More Turkish overflights keeping Athens on edge

The decision to fire warning shots at a Turkish helicopter near the Aegean islet of Ro on Monday was, according to a government source, a message to Ankara that despite its strategy of non-escalation, Athens is also determined to defend its sovereign rights. Greece, the same source said, must demonstrate that there are limits to what it will tolerate within its territory.

Nonetheless, as Athens tries to strike this delicate balance between trying to prevent a military incident and showing that it will not be pushed around, Turkish overflights continued in the eastern Aegean on Wednesday with two F-4 fighter jets flying over Panagia and Oinousses.

Meanwhile, Athens’s uneasiness over Turkey’s escalation of tension was expressed on Wednesday by government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos. “There is obviously concern with respect to the constant provocations that form the core of Turkey’s foreign policy – especially at this extremely crucial period when certain events could lead to even more instability,” he said, explaining that the situation in Syria threatens to complicate matters even further.

The precariousness of the situation was also made apparent by stern remarks on Wednesday from the commander of Turkey’s armed forces, Hulusi Akar, who said that while Ankara wants to resolve all outstanding issues to render the Aegean a “sea of peace,” it will it not accept any “fait accomplis” in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean. For this reason, he said, Turkey is taking all the necessary precautions.

Against this backdrop of tension, Turkey’s pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper said that Ankara could be provoked to strike a Greek ship in the Aegean so that Turkey is targeted by the West.

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