Playing a very dangerous game

It was bound to happen. This game of cat and mouse that Greek and Turkish fighter jet pilots have been playing for so many years over the Aegean, using the most modern and expensive technology, was bound to end in tragedy. In this game, it is irrelevant who the «good» and «bad» guys are or what motives each side has. All it takes is a mistaken maneuver or an erroneous assessment of the rival’s intentions, in the few seconds of reaction time afforded by such cutting-edge technology, and a tragedy has occurred. And this was what happened in Tuesday’s collision between the Greek and Turkish F-16s, south of the island of Karpathos, causing the disappearance of the Greek pilot, who as of late yesterday had not been found (the Turkish pilot was unharmed). For years now we have been playing this game of cat and mouse. It’s not war but it is a war game, using the same weapons, from the same source. (No doubt, defense officials from both sides have drawn some conclusions from these games about what a real war over the Aegean would entail.) The public was not fully informed about what actually happened. But of course we believe we’re in the right and the Turks are in the wrong, that the Turks attacked and we defended, that the Turks are seeking to deprive us of our legal rights. And there is no evidence to make us doubt such convictions. Indeed, all these Turkish incidents of harassment and violations have one central aim: to question the current status quo in the Aegean. We should not forget that we are playing a very dangerous game over the Aegean and one dictated by the other side’s terms.