Greek-Turkish relations | Turkish provocation escalates – Greek reactions
Defence Redefined
Published on 28/04/2022 at 14:02

The crescendo of yesterday’s violations and overflights of Turkish fighters sparked reactions on the part of Greece.

Anti-aircraft systems on the Aegean islands, according to information, were deployed in the positions provided by the plans. If required, they will lock unknown targets, says a competent source in the Ministry of National Defence.

A few hours after the crescendo of Turkish provocations and the 41 overflights by Turkish fighter jets over inhabited Greek islands in the Dodecanese, Athens takes measures in order to be prepared for any eventuality. According to information from military sources, the anti-aircraft systems located on the islands of the Eastern Aegean left the camps and were deployed in the positions provided by the plans.

If required, and as long as the Turkish provocation is repeated with new overflights over inhabited Greek islands such as Rhodes, Samos, Kos, Leros, Karpathos, and Kalymnos – just some of the islands where overflights of Turkish F-16s were recorded yesterday Wednesday – the possibility of the Greek air defence on the islands locking Turkish fighter jets should not be ruled out.

The Turkish provocation started early yesterday, April 27, when an F-16 pair flew over Arkious at 10:18 at 27,000 feet, at 10:21 at 26,000 feet, and at 10:28 at 22,000 feet. This was followed by a corresponding overflight at Lipsi at 10:19 at 27,000 feet, at 10:22 and 10:24 at 26,000 feet, and at 10:26 at 21,000 feet.

Flights followed in Agathonisi at 10:29 at 25,000 feet, Samos at 10:33 at 25,000 feet, Fourni at 10:37 at 26,000 feet, and Oinousses at 10:43 at 28,000 feet. Later, another pair of TIK F-16s flew at 12:13 over Farmakonisi, at 12:15 over Lipsi, at 12:17 over Fourni, and at 12:24 over Oinousses at 26,000 feet.

In all cases, on a tactical basis, the Turkish fighter jets were identified and intercepted by respective Greek fighters in accordance with international rules.

First reactions 

The ongoing violations of Greek airspace and the overflights of Turkish aircraft over Greek islands in the Aegean provoked the reaction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with a strong démarche towards the Turkish ambassador in Athens.

The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Themistoklis Demiris, stressed to the Turkish Ambassador that “these actions are a violation of Greek sovereignty, constitute an unacceptable challenge and are contrary to fundamental principles of international law,” emphasizing that these actions are not only illegal and provocative, but they also “jeopardize international air traffic, completely contradict the principle of good neighborly relations between the two countries and undermine efforts to consolidate trust.”

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The Turkish provocation, however, then peaked when, about 40 minutes after the Greek démarche, Ankara proceeded with new overflights.

At 17:17, a pair of Turkish F-16s flew over Lipsi at 27,000 feet and at 17:18 over Arkious at 14,000 feet. According to data from the Ministry of National Defence, the fourth pair of Turkish F-16s flew at 19:37 over the island of Ro at 25,000 feet, at 19:38 over Megisti at 25,000 feet, and at 19:40 again over Ro at 24,000 feet.

The same pair flew at 19:58 over Kalolimnos and Imia, once again at 20:05 over Kalolimnos, at 20:08 over Lipsi, and at 20:09 over Arkious. The violations and overflights continued at 20:18 over Agathonisi, at 20:19 over Arkious, and at 20:20 over Lipsi at 20,000 and 24,000 feet respectively.

The same pair flew over Telendos at 20:27, at 20:28 over Kalymnos, at 20:29 over Imia at 23,000 feet, and at 20:37 over Symi, at 20:39 over Rhodes at 28,000 feet.

The fifth formation of two F-16s flew at 20:52 over Samos, at 20:57 over Leros, at 20:59 over Kos, at 21:00 over Strongyli, at 21:01 over from Nisyros, at 21:04 over Halki, while the same pair of Turkish fighters continued their overflights, flying at 21:07 over Prasonisi, at 21:14 and at 21:15 over Karpathos at 25,000 feet.

All of these Turkish fighters were identified and intercepted by Greek F-16s and Mirage 2000. In total, at least 40 overflights and more than 100 violations took place during the day. 

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“Tiger Meet 2022” Exercise

Among those invited from the 335th “Tiger” Squadron to participate in the NATO “Tiger Meet 2022” exercise, scheduled to kick off on May 9 in Araxos, was the 192 Filo of the Turkish Air Force, which would bring in three planes. This invitation seems to have been withdrawn.

New démarche

By order of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, the Secretary-General of the Ministry, Themistoklis Demiris, recently filed a new strong démarche to the Turkish Ambassador regarding the unprecedented number of violations of Greek airspace and overflights, which took place in one day.

The Secretary-General stressed that the ongoing Turkish provocative behavior, which violates Greek sovereignty, is completely condemnable and unacceptable.

A statement from the Foreign Ministry said: “Apart from the obvious fact that this is a clear violation of international law, the Secretary-General added that with Turkey’s unilateral responsibility, these actions create particular tension in the relations between the two countries, which contradicts all efforts for improvement. At the same time, they undermine NATO’s cohesion at a particularly critical juncture in the wider region. The Greek side immediately provided relevant information to officials of the EU, NATO, the UN, the ICAO as well as Member-States of the UN Security Council.” 

Also read: Greece – Turkey | New round of Exploratory Contacts in Athens

Confidence Building Measures Halt Again

Due to the tension in the Aegean that continues despite the de-escalation agreement after the recent informal meeting between Mitsotakis and Erdogan in Constantinople, the Confidence Building Measures are halted.

The news was confirmed by the government spokesman, Giannis Oikonomou, during the briefing of the government editors.

“These actions are unacceptable. They are a violation of Greek sovereignty, they are an unacceptable provocation. A provocation that does not remain unanswered either on the field or at the diplomatic level and is in no way in line with the spirit or the content of the recent meeting of the Prime Minister with the Turkish President. It is also absolutely clear that in these circumstances the climate is not suitable for the meetings on the Confidence Building Measures to take place,” stated Giannis Oikonomou.

According to the data of the Ministry of National Defence, 41 overflights took place in the Northeastern, Central and Southeastern Aegean on Wednesday.

Also read: Mitsotakis – Erdogan | Greek-Turkish agreement to reduce tensions between the two countries




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