After the barrage of air and sea challenges from Turkey, the Greek Minister of Defence emphasised that an accident in the Aegean Sea may be very close and sent a message to Ankara saying that “as vigilant guards we strengthen our borders, prevent and stop.”
Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos spoke about the Turkish provocation yesterday, when the Turkish coastguard harassed Greek fishermen near the island of Oinousses, noting that there is a fear of an accident as there is too much activity in a very small space.
“Some days the tension is high, other days there is silence,” Panagiotopoulos told ERT. “We see the overall picture, increased activity in the air, sea and even land as the situation at Evros has not stopped.”
Tensions in small areas increase the risk of an accident, the minister stressed, adding that steps have been taken together with NATO.
“We expect good faith, better behaviour,” he said, adding that “there are no good neighbourly terms at the moment.”
Panagiotopoulos announced that his last communication with his Turkish counterpart was 15 to 20 days ago, saying:
“They are doing their job and we are doing our part to prevent them, to stop them and to explain, as in Evros, for example, that we will strengthen our borders, as vigilant guards, and this cannot be interpreted or explained.”
“We are in a good mood, we want the other side to show that the channels of communication must be open,” Panagiotopoulos said, adding: “I don’t think Turkey wants to escalate tensions until other situations arise, but behavioural patterns make us look at all possibilities and prepare.”
This message comes as yesterday four Turkish fighter jets once again illegally entered Greek airspace, but in record time 12 fighters of the Greek Air Force locked them on, won the dog fight, and chased them out, as we have become accustomed to.