Turkey issued a statement Friday accusing Greece of violating its airspace over the Aegean Sea.
“Greek Air Force F-16 planes violated our airspace west of [the island of] Gökçeada on 16 May 2022, and west of Enes on 17 May 2022. Our air force provided the necessary response to these provocative violations on 18 May 2022, in accordance with the rules of reciprocity and cooperation,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a released statement.
For its part, the Greek Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the violation of airspace by Turkish fighter jets, which approached the Greek port city of Alexandroupolis at a distance of 2.5 nautical miles, and strongly condemned Ankara.
According to Greek ministry statements, Turkey’s actions ” constitute a clear escalation of Turkish provocative conduct. (It) undermines NATO’s cohesion and urgent priorities, and poses a clear threat to the European Union at a critical juncture, as the port of Alexandroupolis is a key hub for the transport of troops and equipment to reinforce our allies.”
The port of Alexandroupolis is used by NATO to move tanks and other heavy combat equipment to Eastern Europe and Ukraine.
Turkey does not recognize Greece’s 10-mile air zone around its coastline and islands, believing that Greek airspace, like territorial waters, is limited to six nautical miles. As a result, Turkish fighters with weapons on board regularly invade the airspace and flight information area of a neighboring state without providing a flight plan, and Greece lifts its aircraft to intercept them.