Greek ire at Turkish violations

Athens formally complained to Ankara yesterday over a series of recent violations of Greek air space and territorial waters by Turkish military craft, linking Turkey’s aggression with its prospects of eventually joining the European Union. Nevertheless, Greek and Turkish fighter pilots continued to joust over the eastern Aegean. In a rare press release on such a matter, the Defense Ministry said 10 Turkish jets violated Greek air space before being chased off. The ministry stressed that Greek air defense systems had locked all the intruding aircraft in their sights. This followed a series of air space and territorial waters violations on Tuesday, which were only made public yesterday. In an unusually brash display, three Turkish coast guard vessels entered Greek waters close to the Imia islets – over which the two countries came very close to fighting in January 1996. Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said demarches had been made. «Such incidents do not comply with the good mood in bilateral relations… nor with Turkey’s European prospects,» he added.