According to the General Staff of the National Defense of Greece, a CN-235 military reconnaissance transport plane and two drones participated in air border violations.
On Sunday, the Turkish military aviation violated the air borders of Greece 44 times, which raised its planes to intercept the intruder, Greek TV station ERT-1 reported, citing a statement from the General Staff of the National Defense of Greece.
“The Turkish Air Force penetrated the national airspace 44 times this day. A CN-235 military reconnaissance transport aircraft and two drones participated in air border violations in the northeastern, central and southeastern Aegean regions. In one case, a flight took place over the Greek island of Candelussa,” explained the Greek General Staff.
“In all cases, Turkish aircraft were identified and intercepted by Greek fighter jets in accordance with international rules,” the ministry said. According to him, dozens of incursions into Greek airspace by Turkish military aircraft also took place on January 6, when the Epiphany was celebrated in Greece
Greece and Turkey, both NATO allies, were on the brink of war in 1996 over Turkish claims to two uninhabited Greek rocky islands collectively called Imia, which Ankara continues to show on maps as its own (called Kardak in Turkish).
Greece’s territorial waters extend to 6 nautical miles around its more than 2,000 islands in the Aegean Sea, but Athens says it has the right to extend them to 12 nautical miles, the internationally recognized standard. Ankara has repeatedly warned Athens that such an expansion by Greece of its territorial waters would be “a formal reason for declaring war”.
At the same time, Turkey does not recognize Greece’s 10-mile air zone around the islands, given that Greek airspace, as well as territorial waters, are limited to 6 nautical miles. As a result, Turkish fighter jets with weapons on board regularly invade the airspace of a neighboring state without providing a flight plan, and Greece raises its aircraft to intercept them. There are thousands of such cases every year.