Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fewer Aegean Provocations after the Elections

In the above picture the line chart at the top shows the number of airspace violations. The bar chart below shows the over flights of Greek islands.

Ta Nea newspaper reports that the Greek Ministry of Defence is studying the numbers of incursions into the Aegean by the Turkish Air Force. The data shows that the number of incursions is decreasing but that the “quality” of the incursions is changing. On the one hand this year, compared to 2008, there is a reduction of roughly 30% in the number of Turkish fighters entering the Athens FIR. The same is true for the number of aircraft carrying weapons and the number of dogfights that have taken place. On the other hand, the actual breached of national airspace and especially the over flights of Greek islands are on the rise. These two factors are the ones that show that the quality of the incursions is changing as they are related to Greek sovereignty.

Until the start of the electoral period in Greece 44 over flights of Greek islands had been recorded. After the change of government, with the Socialist Party coming to power, there has been only one over flight of a Greek island. The post electoral activity of the Turkish Air Force is obviously related to the trip Prime Minister Papandreou made to Turkey as well as the letter sent by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to his Greek counterpart. The fact that Turkey’s bid to join the EU will be evaluated in December also plays a role. The new leadership of the Ministry of Defence, as expressed by Minister Venizelos, believes that the issues between Greece and Turkey must be placed firmly under political control for the avoidance of tension and misunderstandings.

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