Turkish Air Force Incursions into Greek Airspace top 160 in January, 10 More Today

by John Galt
February 1, 2017 19:20 ET

As President Trump settles into his new job, the hot spots in the world keep getting hotter, along with some old foes firing up problems that both European Union and NATO do not need. Iran appears ready to test Trump’s mettle with the recent ballistic missile test, the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine is not even close to a ceasefire with Ukrainian attacks in January throwing the Minsk Peace Accords into doubt, and now Greece and Turkey are starting to get very close to open dispute once again.

The Turkish Air Force has had over 160 incursions into Greek airspace in January along with a naval vessel illegally entering Greek territorial waters. More from the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini:

Turkish violations spike as tension over Aegean grows

Greek-Turkish tensions were fueled further on Wednesday after Turkish fighter jets made 10 flights over an area that includes the islets of Imia and Kalolimnos, and 162 violations of Greek national air space.

The violations were seen as a response to the dropping of a wreath over Imia by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who flew there by helicopter on Wednesday morning to commemorate three Greek servicemen who were killed 21 years ago when their military chopper crashed at the height of the Imia crisis, which brought the two countries to the brink of war.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Kammenos struck a defiant tone, saying that the Greek armed forces “are ready to deal with any provocation.”

In response to Kammenos’s visit to the Imia islets – whose status as Greek territory has been repeatedly disputed by Ankara – his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik told Hurriyet Daily News that Turkey doesn’t want tension with Greece, but “won’t bow to fait accompli.”

Kammenos’s visit to Imia came after a Turkish gunboat with Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar onboard sailed into Greek waters and around the Imia islets on Sunday.

The recent spike in threats emanating from Ankara follows Greece’s Supreme Court’s refusal last week to extradite eight Turkish servicemen to Turkey to stand trial for their alleged role in the failed coup attempt there in July.

On Wednesday a Greek court ruled that, despite the rejection of Turkey’s request for their extradition, the officers should be detained for three months pending examination of their asylum bids, due to national security concerns.

All eight men argued for their release as, they said, they have not been convicted of any wrongdoing.

With Erdogan’s crazy allegations that the Greeks aided Gulen with the alleged coup last year, it is no wonder the Greeks are on edge as the Ankara government could use a war to distract from their failures to destroy ISIS in northern Syria and political discontent at home.

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