Erdogan: Greece a pawn in instigating unrest in Aegean
“Those who sow unrest in the Aegean at every opportunity with their harassment and rudeness are only pawns,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday in a military ceremony, referring the Greece.
Erdogan’s comments follow his accusations on Tuesday that Greek S-300 surface-to-air missiles stationed on Crete locked on to a Turkish aircraft west of Rhodes on Sunday.
Greek military sources dismissed the allegations. NATO describes such an act as "hostile" in its Rules of Engagement.
Erdogan also criticized NATO for not providing the needed support at a time when the “threats against the country were at their peak.”
“We are well aware of the bellyache behind the uproar to sabotage our interest in the East Mediterranean (...) We know very well why the EU, which we are waiting to join, excludes us and includes countries that cannot be compared to us,” he said.
Turkey and Greece, two neighboring NATO members, are at odds over maritime boundaries, extent of their continental shelves and airspace. The disputes lead to regular air force patrols and interception missions mostly around Greek islands near Turkey’s coasts.
Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Sunday that the year 2022 is "projected to be the worst in terms of Turkish airspace violations in 14 years."
A total of 4,734 violations of national airspace occurred in the first half of 2022, just 77 fewer than those recorded over the whole of 2019, it said.