Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has briefed the Secretary General of the NATO on the massive airspace violations and overflights over small and big Greek islands and decided to freeze the Confidence Building Measures with Turkey.
All in all a total of 168 violations of the Greek FIR were recorded on a single day, April 27, and the Turkish F-16 fighter jests conducted also 41 overflights of small but also big inhabited islands such a Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes, Kos and Karpathos. The Turkish fighter jets started their “missions” early Wednesday morning and ended it at 9:20 at night.
The Greek PM called Jens Stoltenberg early Thursday morning, stressing among others that “Turkey’s provocations must stop immediately.” He reminded the Secretary General that Ankara does not apply any of the sanctions against Moscow.
During joint statements with his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin on a visit to Athens, Mitsotakis said that he had clarified to Stoltenberg that “this kind of behavior by a NATO ally is unacceptable. It undermines European security and the unity of NATO, at a time when it is necessary for the members of the Alliance to be united, as long as we face Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.”
He did not hide his annoyance for the breach of the moratorium, which was agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at their meeting in Istanbul in March.
“Turkey’s provocations undermine the progress made during my meeting with Mr Erdogan. They must stop immediately. Greece will raise the issue in all international fora”, Mitsotakis stressed.
He criticized Turkey’s behavior in the Russian war against Ukraine saying “Turkey has not complied with any of the NATO and EU sanctions on Russia. This is not the typical behavior of a country that wants to join the European Council.”
Mitsotakis will be meeting with outgoing US Ambassador, Jeffrey Pyatt later today and is expected to raise the issue, too.
Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou announced that the Confidence Building Measures have been “frozen”.
The Foreign Ministry has lodged one more demarche to Ankara on Thursday.
Late on Wednesday and at an emergency meeting as the Turkish F-16 were still flying up and down the Aegean Sea, the Greek General Staff canceled its invitation to the Turkish Air Force for the NATO exercise “Tiger Meet”that is hosted by Greece.