Turkey Escalates Tension in Aegean

Turkey increases tension in the Aegean and forbids third country military aircraft entering the Istanbul FIR if they have passed through the Athens FIR, which they consider to be a demilitarized zone.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, June and July were two months of continuous violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warcraft.

Ministry officials and Greek army personnel are concerned over an accident risk as Turkey continues to dispute Greek sovereignty in the Aegean in every possible way.

The Turkish armed forces conduct training exercises within the Athens and Nicosia FIR. The exercises include fighter jet misleading maneuvers, mainly high altitude flights inside the Athens FIR with a radio silence. This includes the entry of many aircraft, which are almost always armed, for a limited time, from 1-2 to 15 minutes.

Another practice is the entry of different aircraft to the Athens FIR from different points simultaneously. Also, Turkish aircraft violate the summer moratorium and fly over Greek waters beyond July 15 and throughout August, at the peak of tourist season for Greece.

The Turkish mobility is perceived by Athens as an effort by Ankara to consolidate a state of co-rule in the Aegean, either by disputing the Athens FIR by not submitting flight plans or, indirectly, during NATO exercises.