Turkey Accuses Greek Jets of Violating Airspace

Turkey on Friday accused Greek warplanes of violating its airspace over the Aegean Sea, which Turkish security sources said happened 30 times in 72 hours.

Greece and Turkey, NATO allies but regional rivals in the eastern Mediterranean, often trade barbs over Aegean airspace violations.

Greek fighter planes regularly scramble to intercept Turkish jets entering what Athens considers its airspace, occasionally engaging in mock dogfights.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic accused the Greek air force of conducting “provocative flights in close proximity of the Turkish coast” and of “repeatedly” violating Turkish airspace from Tuesday to Thursday.

Ankara reciprocated “in accordance with their rules of engagement,” he added.

Turkish security sources said 22 of the violations took place on Wednesday and that the Turkish air force reciprocated each time. Those sources slammed Greece’s “illegal, provocative and aggressive actions in the Aegean.”

On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he informed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about “the latest provocative behavior of the Turkish Armed Forces” violating Greek airspace and “dangerously overflying” Greek islands.

Turkey dismissed the criticism as “unfounded” and “incompatible with the recent positive agenda and good neighborly relations.”

In March, Mitsotakis met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, a landmark trip seeking a rapprochement against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.

“We expect the Greek side to put an end to its provocative rhetoric and actions and to sincerely support the confidence-building measures process initiated both bilaterally and within the NATO, so that such incidents do not recur,” Bilgic said.

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