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Unprecedented violation: Turkey’s fighter jets reach 2.5 miles off Alexandroupolis, NE Greece

An unprecedented violation of Greece’s national sovereignty by Turkish fighter jets on Friday: they reached 2.5 nautical miles off the port city of Alexandroupolis in north-eastern Greece. Angry reaction by the Greek Foreign Ministry that issued a statement condemning “the very clear escalation of Turkish provocations.”

Foreign Ministry statement

“We condemn in the strongest terms the unprecedented violation of national sovereignty by two Turkish fighters jets that illegally entered our national airspace and approached Alexandroupolis at a distance of only 2.5 nautical miles.

This action is a very clear escalation of the Turkish provocation.

It is part of Turkey’s effort to promote its neo-Ottoman revisionism, violating all the fundamental rules of international law.

This undermines the cohesion and immediate priorities of NATO, and poses a clear threat to the European Union at a critical juncture, as the port of Alexandroupolis is a key transport hub for strengthening our allies.”

By order of Minister Nikos Dendias, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Themistoklis Demiris, made an immediate and intense protest to the Turkish Ambassador in Athens,the statement added.

It concluded saying that “instructions were given to inform our allies and partners, as well as the EU, NATO and the UN.

According to state broadcaster ERT, the incident took place two day ago, on Wednesday morning. A pair of Turkish F-16 had left west  coast of Turkey and flew over the island of Imvros into Greek airspace. The were intercepted by Greek fighter jets and while they were trying to escape flew almost over Alexandroupolis.

Speaking to CNNGreece, ruling New Democracy MP Giorgos Koumoutsakos, a former diplomat, said “we are talking about Turkish hostility, not just provocation.”

Turkey has increased violations of Greek air space in recent weeks, and thus after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and agreed to ease tension between the two countries because of the war in Ukraine.

Today, Friday, a total of 44 violations have been registered.

Four pairs of Turkish F-16s, one Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and two Turkish navy transport aircraft CN-235 entered Athens FIR on Friday without having submitted a flight plan, the Greek National Defense General Staff  reported on Friday.

A total of 9 infringements of the Athens Flight Information Region developed into 44 violations of national airspace: 29 by the CN-235s, 3 by the fighter jets and 12 by the UAV, across the entire Greek archipelago, while 2 Turkish aircraft were carrying weapons.

All Turkish aircraft were intercepted by Greek fighter jets, per international protocols, except for one case in which the interception turned into a dogfight, the Greek General Staff noted.

 

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9 comments

  1. Sounds like epileptic Gollum blew a fuse to the sanding ovations PM Mitsotsakis received during his speech when addressing the US Congress.

    Don’t these masochistic lemmings realize that it is only a matter of time before some one gets killed with these antagonistic and provocative stunts. It is lucky for them that Greece respects human value.

    It is disheartening to say that Greece must start shooting them down as Turkey did to a Russian plane. Perhaps immediately after extending it maritime border in accordance to the international law of 6 miles. This would make it easier for allies to determine obvious trespassing than only 3, further to Greece’s benefit in security even at the expense of a short term tantrum or casus belli.

    The time has come, enough is enough, announce plans to extend 6 miles and muster allies to remove Turkish troops from Cyprus already.

    • Some clarification.

      1 Greece and Turkey already both claim territorial waters out to 6 nautical miles. The 3 nautical mile limit was abandoned many years ago.

      2 Greece is entitled to extend this to 12 nautical miles under the Convention on the Law of the Sea BUT international conventions like this are only binding on countries that sign the treaty. Greece is a signatory but Turkey isn’t and so Turkey disputes Greece right to do this and has a casus belli in place if Greece does extend.

      3 When it comes to military flights the issue is complicated further. Most countries claim air space out to the extent that they claim their maritime limit but Greece does not. Greece claims an airspace out to 10 nautical miles despite only claiming a maritime limit of 6 nautical miles. A large number of the violations are actually Turkish jets flying into the area between 6 nautical miles and 10 nautical miles although not all. Obviously that is not true in this case but that could be due to the “pretend” dog fight constraining what exit route the Turkish jet could take.

      I am not intending to defend Turkey’s activities but it is important to be clear. Overall there is no such thing as International Law. Countries who sign up to an International Treaty are bound by the rules in that treaty but countries who don’t sign up are not bound by them. Justifying your position by referencing an international treaty is a waste of time unless both countries are signatories of that treaty.

      I think there has also been a few cases in the past where the media in one country have reported that one of their aircraft landed having accidentally lost a missile out at sea and media in the other country reported that one of their aircraft had suffered an accident and been lost over the sea. Hence my enclosing the word pretend in quotation marks.

      • keeptalkinggreece

        “The 3 nautical mile limit was abandoned many years ago.” -100% wrong. that’s the reason TR still challenging GR sovereignty

        • I think it is a matter of legal fact that both Greece and Turkey claim a 6 nautical mile maritime zone. At the beginning of the 20th century a 3 nautical mile maritime zone was the norm and it was later extended to 6 nautical miles. Legally therefore the 3 nautical mile maritime limit has been abandoned.

          The dispute between Greece and Turkey is, as far as I am aware, not related to the claim of a 6 nautical mile limit but to the fact that Greece claims a 10 nautical mile exclusive air limit and also to what should apply where Greek territory is closer than 12 nautical miles, i.e. 6 + 6, from the Turkish coast.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            it is your own, false interpretation. read Treaties of Lausanne (TR received 3 n.m. from its coast)& of 1948 when the Dodecanese was obtained by GR form Italy as well as the amendment Law of the Sea in the early 1990’s.

  2. Turkey lied about Greece violating its airspace first! Greece replied and called them out for these claims being breathtakingly “unfounded and false”!

    Yet, the State Department is equalizing blame again by urging BOTH countries to respect each other’s sovereign airspace after Trump already alienated many American allies”
    “Where disagreements exist we urge discussion, not provocative actions ”State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “we encourage ALL states to resolve maritime delimitation issues peacefully and in accordance with international law,” State Dept. spokesman Ned Price said.

    Is Washington that out of touch with Turkish lies, provocation, and aggression to dare equalize blame amid international tensions with a Russia they buys arms, refuse to sanction, host their oligarchs and assets, as well as Hamas and the Muslim brotherhood etc., Has America gone bonkers ever since Trump alienating allies? And to think Greece’s PM received standing ovations for shared values… what shared now by equalizing blame and responsibility?

    • Look, there is one thing you don´t realize: the rest of the world, including US, is pretty much annoyed with all this. Ok, ok, you want to buy military paraphernalia, spend all you budget, they are more than happy to seel it, including France and US. But about the Aegean sea territorial dispute, is to Turkey and Greece to solve their own problems. And, I´m sorry to inform you, but Turkey is far more important than Greece, geostrategicaly, economically, etc, etc. It´s irrelevant that two thousand yers ago people living in your territory invented all things in the universe, as you all say. When will you finally realize that, for christ sake? That eternal ¨Don´t be their BFF, they are mean and ugly, like me, please¨is annoying. That´s you secular national obsession. Solve you own problems. This things are made with negotiations. International law has guidances, is not not pure geometry. See how other countries did that. You can´t transform the Aegean sea in a mare nostrum.

  3. Realpolitik. America couldn’t care less who is to blame. America wants both Greece and Turkey in NATO so it won’t take sides. Expecting America to analyse who is right or wrong and do the right thing is naive in the extreme. America does whatever benefits America.

  4. Alexandroupoli?! Now they dare antagonize the Americans who are increasing their presence there?

    Greece’s port of Alexandroupolis ( near the border with Turkey ) hosted the “largest shipment of US military equipment in history” last December, that participated in the NATO exercise “Atlantic Resolve”. “Atlantic Resolve” began in 2014 in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

    It is not only Greece that they provoke now but also America given their increased presence in the area.

    After the invasion, Turkey strategically sent deadly drones to Ukraine (under the pretext they were sold before the invasion). A traditionally hyper-protectionist stupid son of a care salesman Biden was also mulling selling them F16s in thanks to these deadly drones -if you thought that only the twice impeached insurrectionist alienated allies).

    Meanwhile, keeping Turkey in NATO seems to matter more than Turkey refusing to sanction Russia, who hosts their oligarchs, their assets and businesses, refuse to allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO, and now snub America who acts like a spurned lover “afraid to offend Turkey by removing nukes from their soil”, etc.

    Turkey is still emboldened enough to defy America, as they did when threatening to overrun Americans in Syria besides their brave sacrificing Kurdish brethren. Will America still cower to Turkey’s threats or finally come up with a long over due enough is enough solution? A good start would also be to consider liberating Cyprus who was not even treated as equally as Kuwait.

    Turkey’s symbolic protests near Alexandroupoli against American’s being in Greece is a bold escalation. This is especially at a crucial time that they endanger. America’s interests and France’s military participation with Greece is also a one hell of a risk and lemming exercise to provoke armed conflict by these shameless pirates.

    Who emboldens such action? Are they emboldened by equalizing blame to keep them in NATO? Why? These ruthless barbarians would only turn on you in the trenches when you need them most. When is enough, enough when it comes to affirmative resolve with these pirates, liars, and unlawful antagonizing extortionists brainwashed by some nationalistic embezzling dictator who jails his journalists and controls a media against the west. Does America not understand that that he is a strategic enemy of the west who only uses NATO as a bargaining position?

    When will this state sponsored terrorists that sends mercenaries finally become an official adversary than partner in any form… just like Germany was any so called “partner” with its so called “bailouts” that only increased debt on paper without seeking a penny under Obama’s blessing in fear of recession threats and traditional ultimatums… and so little said, when 9 million kindred souls are nothing compared to interests that supersede principle and values that are hardly “shared”. Again Greece walks the precarious tightrope for its very survival.