Jun 05 2018

Turkish jets violate Greek airspace as Ankara dials up aggressive rhetoric - Kathimerini

Greek defence authorities recorded six violations of the country’s air space by four Turkish fighter jets in less than half-an-hour on Tuesday morning, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

Four Turkish F-16s entered Athens’s Flight Information Region (FIR) 10.35 a.m. and split off into two pairs, conducting six unauthorised over flights in the southeastern Aegean area, the daily said.

It said the violations came “in the wake of aggressive rhetoric emanating from Ankara in response to the release by Greek judicial authorities of the last four of eight Turkish servicemen wanted in that country over an attempted coup in the summer of 2016.”

The eight men have been a source of ongoing tension between Turkey and Greece. Turkey has demanded the men be sent back to face trial for taking part in the 2016 coup attempt, which it blames on the Islamist Gülen movement.

The alleged violations follow an accusation by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Monday that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was going back on a pledge to ensure the eight servicemen were extradited.

News emerged this week that all eight of the officers had been released into protective police custody.

“With time, though, we saw that the judicial authorities were mobilised and these putschists were not extradited,” Kathimerini quoted Bozdağ as saying.

Greek courts rejected Turkish extradition demands arguing the men would not receive a fair trial in Turkey.