On Greece’s harassment of Turkish planes, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Ankara’s talks with NATO were ongoing, adding, “Our sensitivity continues. Greece is aware of that.”
“On the issue of radar lock, our sensitivity persists with determination. Greece is aware of this and has therefore chosen to clean up its act,” Erdogan said in the capital Ankara before embarking on a tour of three Balkan countries, the Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, respectively.
Erdogan reiterated the warning to Athens saying, “All of a sudden we can come overnight.”
Turkish jets engaged in NATO missions over the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean on August 23 were harassed by a Russian-made S-300 air defense system stationed on the Greek island of Crete.
The president said Turkish officials continue to raise this issue with NATO.
According to Turkish National Defense Ministry sources, Greece has violated Turkish airspace and territorial waters more than 1,100 times in the first eight months of this year alone.
Türkiye, a NATO member for more than 70 years, has complained about Greece’s repeated provocative actions and rhetoric in the region in recent months, including the arming of islands near Turkey’s coast that are demilitarized under the treaty, claiming that such actions frustrate his good faith efforts for peace.
Balkan tour in 3 nations
Before heading to Bosnia and Herzegovina to begin his three-day Balkan tour, Erdogan said Turkey was pursuing a policy that supports the stability and development of the Balkans and its process of integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.
“We will strive to find a solution to the political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina during our visit,” he said.
After Bosnia and Herzegovina, Erdogan will travel to Serbia and Croatia.
“We try to avoid tensions while keeping a strong connection with this geography, where we have deep-rooted historical, human and cultural ties. We support the development of the Balkans with the projects we have implemented,” said Erdoğan.
The Balkans are a priority for Turkey not only for political, economic and geographical reasons, but also because of its historical, cultural and human ties with the region.
Erdogan said Ankara witnesses that all the peoples of the region welcome Türkiye’s balanced and fair position with appreciation, adding, “We will maintain our position in the coming period.”
On the energy crisis, Erdogan said Europe will face “serious problems” this winter, but Turkey has no such problems.
Gas prices jumped after Russian energy company Gazprom announced that shipments of natural gas from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Europe had been halted indefinitely.
Gazprom closed the pipeline between August 31 and September 31. 2 for repairs, and supplies were to resume after Sept. 2, but the company said the pipeline would remain closed.
“Europe reaps what it sows,” he said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin reacted similarly to European sanctions.