ANKARA, Turkey ( Associated Press) – Turkey on Thursday rejected allegations that its warplanes conducted unauthorized military flights over the Greek islands, instead pointing the finger at NATO-member Greece.
A statement by Turkey’s foreign ministry said the allegations by Greece “do not reflect the truth” and stressed that it was Greece’s air force that carried out “provocative flights” near the Turkish coast, allegedly It has repeatedly violated its airspace in the southwestern cities of Didim, Datka and Ka. Dalman.
“While Greece is the party that initiated and escalated tensions – accusing our country of baseless accusations is inconsistent with the recent positive agenda and good neighborly relations between the two countries,” Turkey’s statement read.
Turkey and Greece have long-standing maritime and air border disputes that have intensified with moves to explore potential reserves of natural gas inside the ocean.
The disagreement has resulted in almost daily Air Force patrols and interception missions, mostly in disputed airspace around the Greek islands that are near Turkish coastlines.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that he contacted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to report alleged airspace violations by Turkey, which he said included unauthorized flights over several large Greek islands.
“I made it clear to Secretary-General Stoltenberg that this type of behavior by a NATO ally in the southeastern side of the alliance is unacceptable. It undermines European security as well as the unity of NATO’s purpose,” Mitsotakis said.
Mitsotakis made the remarks during a meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
On Wednesday, Turkey’s ambassador to Athens was called to Greece’s foreign ministry to receive a complaint about unauthorized military flights.
Turkey’s foreign ministry called on Greece to “stop the inflammatory actions and rhetoric” and support the recently resumed talks, aimed at building trust between the two countries.
“There is no change in Turkey’s attitude towards resolving all Aegean disputes, including the width of the airspace, within the framework of an honest dialogue, in accordance with international law,” the ministry statement said.