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Turkish fighter jets repeatedly intruded Greek airspace within a short time frame, Athens said. Though no live rounds were exchanged, Greek warplanes were deployed to intercept the Turkish jets leading to a tense aerial encounter.
Ankara's fleet comprising six warplanes and a navy transport plane have been cruising the skies above Greece's eastern and central Aegean islands, state-run Athens News Agency said on 15 February. No less than 22 times the Turkish flights are said to have entered Greek sovereign airspace.
Two of the six Turkish warplanes were armed. A Greek army staff was quoted as saying that two "virtual dogfights" took place between Turkish and Greek aircraft.
The brief altercation has come when Nato is planning to deploy naval patrols in the waters of Aegean Sea to check increasing human smuggling and migrant trafficking. The waters separating both the countries have been a vital route for refugees and eventually human traffickers as well.
This is also not the first time Turkish jets have flown into Greek territories resulting in tense confrontations. While Greece recognises 10 miles of airspace around an archipelago located in Turkish west coast, Ankara deems only six miles. Most of the aerial encounters happen only in the four-mile radius that is claimed by both. Both Greece and Turkey — despite being a part of the Nato bloc — have frequently engaged in territorial disputes.