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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 May 2018
24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 MAY 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greek air space violated by Turkish aircraft, again Greece’s air space was violated on Monday by a Turkish helicopter and three pairs of F-16 fighter jets 15 times through the course of the day When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for peace with neighbouring Greece last month, many thought it was insinuated that the air space and water violations would cease. But that has been far from the case. On Monday a Turkish helicopter and three pairs of F-16 fighter jets, four of which were armed, violated Greece's national air space, entering the Athens Flight Information Region on more than one occasion over a 24-hour period. In total the aircraft violated rules on four occasions, committing 15 violations throughout the day, said Greek Defence officials. According to a report by ANA-MPA, it took Greek air force pilots to engage in mock dogfights to chase the Turkish aircraft away. Greece to upgrade its F-16 fleet with 85 new aircraft from the US This investment will cost Greece over €1.1billion A US inspection team will be visiting Athens soon to finalise the agreement stricken last weekend during a meeting held by Greece's Government Council of Defense and Foreign Affairs (KYSEA) chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The board has reportedly ap- proved a new program looking towards the upgrade of upgrading the Hellenic Air Force which will entail the acquisition of 85 F-16 fighter jets estimated to cost more than €1.1 billion. "Following the Defence Minister briefing that the US side has initially accepted the reviewed Greek proposal, after The F-16 Viper aircraft will be transferred to the US for upgrades and should return to Greece by 2020 while the remaining 84 fighter jets will be upgraded on Greek soil by US mechanics. taking into account the country's fiscal engagements for the following years, the council unanimously approved the upgrading of Greece's fleet of 85 F-16 fighter jets," a state- ment issued by the PM's office said. Currently, Greece has four types of F-16 fighters, many of which can not exchange tactical field information. The US has accepted the Greek proposal for payment in installments, commencing in 2020. This news comes amidst increasing tension between Turkey and Greece; according to the Greek military, Turkish incursions into Greek airspace rose to 3,317 in 2017 from 1,269 in 2014, while maritime incursions rose to 1,998 from 371 in the same period. Turkish president claims Greeks burned Smyrna in 1922 PHOTO: PROTO THEMA Turkish hackers threaten to throw Greeks ‘into the sea’ The Turkish hackers identifying themselves as ‘Akincilar’, made their threats by hijacking news site ANA-MPA and the official Greek web page of Japanese automaker Suzuki Turkish hackers have threatened Greek nationals, claiming that if they do not heed their warning that they will be thrown "into the sea". Identifying themselves as 'Akıncılar', meaning 'raiders', the group hacked the official Greek web page of Japanese automaker Suzuki on Tuesday, where they posted their controversial message, written in both English and Turkish. They reiterated the accusations that Greece is harbouring terrorists, referencing the eight Turkish servicemen who sought asylum in Greece in 2016 after the failed coup, and whose extradition Turkey continues to demand. "How we throw the your [sic] ancestors into the sea, we will throw you and the terrorist organisation FETO which you support into the sea!" read the message, referring to Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, an alleged Gülenist terrorist group the Turkish government claim is responsible for the planning of the coup. The threatening message was the same one that was uploaded on Monday to the state-run news agency ANA-MPA's website, which was also hacked by the group. Suzuki and ANA-MPA have since regained control of their websites. It is expected that such attacks will continue, and may even intensify, in the lead-up to the Turkish general elections on 24 June. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has kicked off his election campaign with controversial comments, claiming that Greek soldiers burned the great port city following the Greco-Turkish War Despite his recent call for peace with Greece, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has an odd way of going about it. He kicked off his general and presidential election campaign rally last Saturday with controversy, claiming that it was Greek soldiers who were responsible for the Great Fire of Smyrna that destroyed Izmir (formerly Smyrna) in 1922 while leaving after the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922). "The biggest blow given to this beautiful city is by the Greek soldiers who burned Izmir as they retreated," Erdogan said during a speech took control of the city on 9 September 1922, and went on to destroy much of the port city. It is estimated that tens of thousands of Greeks and Armenians died in the fire. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking in Izmir. PHOTO: AAP VIA EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE at Izmir's Chamber of Commerce. He attempted to support his argument by claiming that Turkish soldiers "did not want to destroy or burn – they always wanted to build and create", proven by Izmir's rapid development after the war. The fire took place four days after Turkish forces Erdogan is not the first to make such a claim; other conservative Turkish sources believe that it was both Greeks and Armenians who started the fire in a bid to damage the reputation of the Turks. However this is contrary to what a majority of historians say, including Niall Ferguson and Richard Clogg, who concluded that it was Turkish forces who destroyed the city. As tension between Greece and Turkey simmers down, Athens adopts cautious stance All eyes are on the upcoming elections in Turkey When Nikos Kotzias omitted to brief journalists after his lengthy meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday, his omission did not go unnoticed. The meeting took place during the NATO summit in Brussels and it had the promise of a 'cool change' in the Greece-Turkey relationships, after weeks, if not months of tension which nearly led to conflict a number of times. A screenshot of the message uploaded by Turkish hijackers to the Greek web page of Suzuki. The Greek Foreign Minister's recent stance marks a departure from that of his cabinet colleague, Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, but also from his own sharp remarks towards his counterpart during this recent period. The reason for this change of attitude lies in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Turkey, which are to be held on 24 June. The Greek government expects the nationalist rhetoric to contin- ue dominating the Turkish public discourse until the elections. Adopting a more cautious approach towards Ankara, Athens aims to avoid conflict, while waiting to see the result of the elections. One of the major points of concern for Athens is the possibility of Turkish election rallies being held in Thrace, where a sizable Muslim population resides, particularly Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced his decision to deliver a campaign speech in Sarajevo, Bosnia on 20 May. Moreover, Greece believes that behind Turkey's bellicose stance hides a strategy to divert attention from the refugee crisis, which should be the primary focus of both countries at the moment. The Greek foreign ministry also decided to take a step back, after the US threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara over its planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.
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