Turkey has claimed that airspace violations in the Aegean are “legal” and “no threat to Greece.” Calling Turkish flights over Aegean “a threat” is incompatible to good neighborly ties, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in response to a Greek Foreign Ministry statement.
This is the latest “war of words” between the foreign ministries of the two neighboring countries
A Greek Foreign Ministry statement on Turkey’s military activities in the Aegean was “odd” in both its timing and content, Hami Aksoy, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said in a statement.
Turkey believes the free use of international airspace over the Aegean should not constitute a contentious issue between the two countries, said Aksoy.
“Greece, on the other hand, claims 10 miles of airspace beyond six miles of territorial waters in clear contradiction of international law,” he added.
“The fact that Greece perceives Turkey’s flights — which are in accordance with international law — as a threat, and presents them as violations is in no way compatible with alliance solidarity and good neighborly relations,” said Aksoy, referring to NATO, which both Turkey and Greece belong to.
On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that if Greece sends out fighter jets to intercept Turkish F-16s over the Aegean, it should not be surprised if Turkey responds to Greek flights the same way.
“If you take off, my [fighter jet] will also take off,” he said in a televised interview.
The Greek Foreign Ministry had called Erdogan’s remarks “completely unacceptable,” claiming that Turkey’s flights violate Greek sovereignty.
Of course, violations of Greece’s sovereignty is the national sports in Turkey, where aircraft but also navy and coast guard boats participate.
#Turkish Coast Guard (red) violate Hellenic Territorial Waters near east #Oinousses islands – #Hellenic Coast Gurd (blue) confront and escort SG boat up to Turkish Territorial Waters. pic.twitter.com/2ZGbVfku6Q
— AegeanHawk (@AegeanHawk) March 16, 2019