On Saturday, the US State Department responded to the Turkish violation of Greek airspace, which involved Turkish jets flying dangerously close to the Greek city of Alexandroupoli.
In a statement, Ned Pierce, a State Department spokesperson, stated that:
“We encourage all countries to respect the sovereign airspace of other countries and to operate state aircraft with due regard for the safety of navigation of civil aircraft.”
“Where disagreements exist over the limits of a country’s territorial airspace, we urge coordination and discussion, not provocative actions that could lead to deadly accidents,” he stressed. “As a matter of principle, we encourage all states to resolve maritime delimitation issues peacefully and in accordance with international law.”
Turkish jets flew into Greek airspace within 2.5 nautical miles of the northeastern city on Friday.
Turkish jets violating Greek airspace a “provocation”
“This action is a very clear escalation of Turkish provocation,” the Greek Foreign ministry said in a statement.
The statement also noted that Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had instructed the ministry’s secretary general, Themistoklis Demiris, to lodge “an immediate and strong protest with the Turkish ambassador.”
The ministry said the incursion was “part of Turkey’s effort to promote its neo-Ottoman revisionism, in violation of the fundamental rules of international law.”
“This undermines the cohesion and immediate priorities of NATO, and poses a clear threat to the European Union at a critical juncture, as the port of Alexandroupoli is a key transport hub for strengthening our allies,” it was said.
The ministry also said it would be informing “our allies and partners, as well as the EU, NATO and the UN” about the incident.
Recently, Turkey has launched a barrage of violations of Greek airspace, an issue that was raised by Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his meetings in Washington earlier in the week.
Addressing a joint session of Congress, Mitsotakis told American lawmakers that Greece would not tolerate overflights which must stop immediately. He added that NATO does not need another source of tension in the eastern Mediterranean as it deals with Russian aggression in Ukraine.