NATO’s mission to combat migrant-smuggling networks in the Aegean, which are responsible for the hundreds of thousands of migrants crossing from Turkey into Greece, is up in the air as Turkey’s government has made a series of outrageous demands over the use of the Aegean Sea by NATO patrols.
Essentially, Turkey uses the current opportunity to challenge Greece’s dominance in the area.
Greece claims a 10-mile (16-kilometre) air space limit around its coastline and islands, but Turkey only recognizes six miles.
Turkey also says that there are a number of islands (Agathonissi and Farmakonissi) whose sovereignty is unclear.
Turkey’s stance has caused much annoyance in both NATO and EU circles, whose officials are clearly siding with Greece on the matter of the Aegean sea.
In the meantime, Greek defense minister Panos Kammenos has sent a memo to the General Secretary of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance asking for the immediate employment of a NATO task force in the Aegean, and did not mince his words when he said that Turkey seeks to blow up in air the agreement reached recently by NATO member states.
Indeed, at a military conference attended by representatives from Greece, Turkey and Germany, a senior level Turkish military officer used an apparently demeaning phrase to describe his government for the stance it had taken on the matter of NATO patrols, according to some media reports.