‘Unacceptable provocation’: Greece-Turkey spar over airspace

Greece has accused Turkey of undermining NATO unity by violating its airspace with fighter jets, prompting an angry Turkish response that blamed Athens for “provocative” violations of its own airspace.

Greece’s foreign ministry said it protested to the Turkish ambassador in Athens on Wednesday over a series of overflights in the Aegean Sea, saying they were unlawful and an “unacceptable provocation”.

Greece’s navy participating in military exercise in August 2020 [File: Greece Defence Ministry via AFP]
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that he informed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg of the issue.

“I made it clear to the secretary-general that this type of behaviour by a NATO ally … is unacceptable,” Mitsotakis said.

“It undermines European security as well as the unity … of NATO at a time when amongst NATO members it is indispensable for all of us to remain united as we face the continued aggression of Russia in Ukraine.”

Greece and Turkey, NATO allies, are still at odds over a host of issues such as maritime rights, airspace, and ethnically split Cyprus.

A government spokesman said earlier that following the overflights, the environment was not good for an expected round of confidence-building talks between the two countries.

In a statement responding to Greece, the Turkish foreign ministry said Athens’s comments did not reflect reality, Greece was instigating tensions, and the Turkish Air Force responded to the “provocations” in accordance with engagement rules.

Source: Al Jazeera.

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