Top soldier warns war still a threat

Despite the thaw in cross-Aegean relations, the prospect of Greece going to war with Turkey is still fairly realistic, the outgoing head of the Greek Joint Chiefs of Staff warned in an interview with the Sunday Kathimerini. General Giorgos Antonakopoulos, whose three-year term in office ends on February 16, also argued that the fact of Turkish aggressiveness in the Aegean was more important than whether this behavior stemmed from political or military officials in Ankara. «Given Turkey’s continued questioning of our sovereign rights, I cannot agree with the view [that the possibility of war of the two countries going to war no longer exists],» Antonakopoulos said. Greece and Turkey came very close to blows over the ownership of two uninhabited eastern Aegean islets in the January 1996 Imia crisis. Since then, though Greek and Turkish air force pilots regularly engage in tense simulated dogfights as a result of Aegean air space violations – and despite minor tension around the Imia islets – relations between the two governments have greatly improved.

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