Let’s talk about Turkey’s daily violations of Greece’s air and maritime space

Let’s talk about Turkey‘s daily violations of Greece‘s air and maritime space.

While the East Mediterranean crisis reached a peak this year, Greece has been on the receiving end of daily Turkish violations for decades. Ankara has systematically violated international law, continuously threatening Athens, while testing its air readiness.

Turkish violations of Greece‘s airspace have increased dramatically since 2014. So has the total number of aircraft involved. Violations involving armed Turkish fighter jets, which lead to engagements (“dogfights”) with Greek fighters, have also increased.

A brief summary of Turkey’s violations of Greece’s airspace presents some staggering figures. In the decade 2009-2019, Turkish jets violated Greek air space close to 23,000 times. Turkey averaged 172 violations per month, with 19 involving armed fighter jets.

Number of Turkish air violations against Greece. Turkey
Number of Turkish air violations against Greece.

If we focus on Turkey‘s violations of Greece‘s air space in 2020 YTD, the numbers are shocking. Together with its hybrid war attack at Greek borders in Evros early in the year and its daily infringements in the East Mediterranean, Ankara has broken all air violation records with Athens.

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Perhaps the single most menacing change in Ankara’s strategy vs Greece has been the increase in the number of overflights of Turkey‘s aircraft — often, armed — above Greece‘s mainland and islands. There have been 368 overflights in 2020 YTD – 10x the annual average of the past decade!

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In August of this year, 13 Turkish fighter jets (4 of which were armed) committed 50 violations of Greek air space — in just a SINGLE DAY.

The inconsistency of Turkey’s policy of daily air violations against Greece becomes apparent if we remember that in November 2015 a Turkish Air Force F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24 after no more than 17 seconds inside Turkish air space.

In July, just the suspicion of Russian jets violating Finland’s air space was enough to create an uproar.

And here we have a NATO member violating another NATO member’s airspace daily, often with armed jets, and the Alliance practically stays silent.

Apart from daily violations of Greece’s air space, Turkey is also committing daily violations of Greek maritime waters.

These have increased drastically since 2016, reaching a peak during the East Mediterranean crisis of this year, earning Ankara the title of “gunboat diplomacy” queen.

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There is no excuse for Ankara continuing w/ these provocations and international law violations. Equally, there is no excuse for EU/NATO to remain silent in the face of such brazenly illegal and threatening behavior. EU/NATO inaction only breeds Erdogan‘s further illegal actions.

Erdogan’s attempted encroachment over Greek sovereign territory, as well as the risk of an air/maritime accident in the Aegean/East Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece, are both very real and dangerous. EU/NATO appeasement of Ankara is threatening peace and security in the region.

Data on Turkey’s air and maritime violations against Greece can be found in the official website of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff.

I implore everyone — especially armchair Erdoganists in Berlin and Brussels — to study them carefully.

The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.

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