Greece continues to violate Turkey's airspace, territorial waters: Defense Ministry

Ankara condemns Athens for arming demilitarized Aegean islands.

Greece continues to violate Turkey's airspace, territorial waters: Defense Ministry

Greece has continued to violate Turkey’s airspace, territorial waters, and the status of the demilitarized islands in the Aegean Sea, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

So far in 2021, Greece carried out 206 airspace violations, 27 territorial water violations, 95 aerial vehicle harassment, 790 violations by ships on islands with demilitarized status, said Maj. Pinar Kara, spokesperson of the National Defense Ministry.

Apart from Greece’s arming of islands near Turkey, in violation of longstanding treaties, Turkey also condemns Greek efforts to claim maximalist maritime territory in the Eastern Mediterranean and to confine Turkish waters to a small area in the south, although Turkey has more Mediterranean coastline in the region than any other country.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, the ministry said that efforts to picture Turkey’s presence in Northern Cyprus as “occupation” will not be able to cover historical atrocities against Turkish Cypriots.

It will not benefit Greeks, Greek Cypriots, or their supporters, it added.

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

The ministry spokesman also detailed the country’s efforts in the fight against terrorism.

Some 22 anti-terror operations were carried out within the country or beyond borders in August, it said.

The number of terrorists “neutralized” since the beginning of 2021 reached 1,865, including 244 terrorists in northern Iraq, the ministry added.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in statements to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

The PKK terror group often uses bases in northern Iraq just across Turkey's southern border to hide and plot terror attacks in Turkey.

Turkey launched operations Pence-Simsek and Pence-Yildirim on April 23 in northern Iraq's Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

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