Tensions between Turkey and Greece have been escalating as both sides vow to defend their territorial rights
CAIRO – 8 July 2020: Greek authorities have announced that Turkish jets had committed a total of 50 new violations in the country’s national airspace, in just one day.
The violations were reported to have occurred within the northeastern, central and southeastern regions of the Aegean Sea, on July 2, including over islands such as Chios and Ikaria.
A total of 13 Turkish aircraft were also identified to be within the area, the Greek Reporter reported.
The aircraft were identified as eight General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons, two F-4 Phantoms, and one CASA/IPTN CN-235.
These 13 jets also violated the air use regulations established by the Athens Flight Information region as well.
Because they did not first submit a flight plan, all the Turkish aircraft were duly intercepted by the Greek military in line with the international rules of engagement, according to the Greek Reporter.
Four of the 13 Turkish jets were armed, according to officials, and Greek pilots engaged with them in mock dogfights as a result.
The violations are part of a larger, continuing pattern on the part of the Turkish military of not adhering to internationally-recognized regulations regarding Greece’s airspace.
Tensions between Turkey and Greece have been escalating as both sides vow to defend their territorial rights.
On July 6, the Greek Kathimerini newspaper published what it described as Greek defense "deterrent scenarios" against Turkey.
The scenarios include using force if Ankara decided to carry out drilling near Crete Island.
Ankara claim the drilling is part of a deal struck in 2019 with Libya's Al-Wefaq government, a deal which all Libyan segments of society and national army have rejected as unconstitutional and illegal.
Under the Libyan agreement, Turkey can search for energy in a large swathe of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Athens stresses the deal violates the territorial waters of some of its Greek Islands.
In press remarks, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias accused Turkey of "blackmail" and promised that "Greece was ready to defend its sovereign rights."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went further, as usual, ignoring all international laws, norms and basic principles, issuing his own warning.
"You had better collect yourself and know your place. If you don't know your limits, then what Turkey would do is obvious," said Erdogan.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also added, “I want to underline in a mathematical certainty that Greeks would not want to stage a war with Turkey,” according to VOA News.
Greek and Turkish fighter planes were engaged in two dogfights over the Aegean Sea on April 6 after Turkish jets violated Greek airspace 16 times in the northeast, central and southeastern Aegean, Ekathimerini reported.
The Turkish jets were identified and intercepted in line with international rules of engagement, the newspaper reported.
Political and military tensions between Greece and Turkey have escalated over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea and the arrest by Turkey of two Greek soldiers who had crossed the border into Turkey in bad weather in March.
Six Turkish F-16s, tw F-4s and one CN-235 transport plane entered Greek airspace without a flight plan, violating international air traffic regulations.
Egypt’s Minster of Foreign Affairs Mr. Sameh Shoukry held a teleconference meeting in May with his Greek, Cypriot, French and Emirati counterparts as they discussed the latest worrying developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The ministers denounced the ongoing Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and its territorial waters, as they represent a clear violation of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
It was the 6th attempt by Turkey in less than a year to illegally conduct drilling operations in Cyprus’ maritime zones.
During their meeting, the Ministers also condemned the escalation of Turkey’s violations of the Greek national airspace, including over flights of inhabited areas and territorial waters in violation of International Law.
Furthermore, the Ministers condemned the instrumentalization of civilians by Turkey in an attempt to illegally cross Greek land borders as well as its continued support for illegal crossings of Greek sea boundaries.