Turkish premier speaks on bilateral issues

Turkish fighter planes exercise their right to fly in international flight space in the Aegean. They do so unarmed unless they are harassed by the Greek air force and they submit daily flight schedules to Greece through NATO channels. This activity will continue, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Kathimerini, responding to Greek complaints as to the nature and causes of problems in the Aegean. This interview was conducted before the latest face-off near Imia, but Erdogan’s replies clarified the Turkish view on problems in the Aegean yet again, this time from the political standpoint. Turkey generally makes its view known by means of military activity in the air and at sea. Referring to Greece’s claim to 10 nautical miles of national air space, Erdogan says Turkey does not accept it or the 6 NM of Greece’s territorial waters, which he states are contrary to international law. He also asserts that tension in the Aegean is caused by Greek interception and harassment of Turkish military aircraft flying in international air space. The Turkish prime minister calls for a «just, durable and acceptable settlement to all Aegean problems,» and expresses optimism that solutions will be found if both sides address the disputed issues «patience, perseverance and good faith.» In conclusion, speaking about his country’s road to European Union membership, he insists that Ankara is «determined to overcome any obstacle.»

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