Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos warned Greece and Turkey were very close to a “fatal accident” in an interview with respected French newspaper “Liberation”. Clearly straying from the Greek government’s line of trying to de-escalate tensions with Turkey, Mr Kammenos appears to be adopting a more aggressive stance. Following his statements from Bucharest on Friday, when he used a dramatic tone to describe the two Greek servicemen in a Turkish prison as “hostages” and appealing to Romania for help to release them, the Defence Minister told “Liberation” that Greece and Turkey could end up in a military conflict caused by an accident in the Aegean Sea due to the many violations of Greek airspace and sea territory.
“We are very close to a fatal accident. When our airspace is violated, we send our aircraft to drive the Turkish aircraft outside our airspace”, Mr Kammenos said, adding that “Greece is basically at the mercy of an accident that can at any moment engulf the coastguard, navy etc. With the violation of territorial waters and airspace, both Greek and European, Ankara is also trying to exert pressure on Europe. We are obliged to defend our territory, which is not only Greek but also European”, he pointed out.
Mr Kammenos explained that Greece was under immense pressure by Turkey, saying that in only a year, territorial water violations had increased by 450%, while airspace violations by 48%. “The explanation lies in the situation in Syria and in the conflict with the Kurds. The Turks are facing many problems in the of Afrin enclave and are trying to export tensions in Greece”, he says.