Turkey has sharply stepped up its offensive behavior in the Aegean in recent months, according to data presented by the Greek publication Kathimerini on Sunday.
It is significant that from January to April the number of violations of national airspace increased four times compared to the same period in 2021, while there were eight times more overflights during the same period.
The publication reports that in the first four months of the year, agencies of the Greek Ministry of Defense recorded 2377 incidents compared to 618 in 2021. In fact, 1,465 incidents occurred between March 14 and April 30, as a result of a dangerous escalation in the Aegean by Turkey, which also claimed that the sovereignty of the islands was linked to their demilitarization.
Turkish fighter overflights are of particular concern as they represent a flagrant violation of national sovereignty. Between January and April, Turkish aircraft flew over the territory of Greece 120 times against 15 in 2021.
Significantly, it was on April 27, just days after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ visit to Washington, that an unprecedented number of violations took place. Tensions escalated that Wednesday as Turkey flew 42 overflights of 21 Greek islands, the most in a single day since 1974.
In response to the escalation, since April 27, Athens has canceled an invitation for the participation of the Turkish Air Force in the international NATO Tiger Meeting exercise, while informing its NATO partners and EU about the aggressive actions of Ankara. Turkey’s behavior was also reflected in a letter sent by US lawmakers to President Joe Biden on July 5 calling for a freeze on the sale of F-16s to Turkey because Ankara is using them to violate Greek airspace.