Athens immediately responded on Friday to inflammatory statements a day earlier by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, among others, said "we (Turkish military) scramble aircraft in the Aegean, as long as the Greeks do so".
Among others, the increasingly authoritarian Turkish leader was trying to justify Ankara's purchase of the Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, a prospective defense acquisition that has infuriated Washington.
"Turkey’s effort to equate the flights of Turkish military aircraft that violate Greece's national sovereignty with the identification and interception missions the Hellenic Air Force carries out in defense of national sovereignty, is completely unacceptable.
Turkish military aircraft violate Greek national air space on an almost daily basis, including through low-altitude overflights of inhabited Greek islands. This is a practice that Greece systematically condemns and reports, both bilaterally as well as to the competent international bodies.
Turkey's leadership has to realise that international law must be respected by everybody, in its entirety. Selective application of its provisions merely serves to expose Turkey, while at the same time undermines regional security and stability. Specifically with regard to the Aegean, we reiterate that its legal status is clear and fully enshrined in International Law, leaving no room for doubt.
Turkey, a NATO ally and a candidate country for accession to the EU, would do well to adopt Greece's sober, lawful, and responsible stance, promoting good neighbourly relations, for its own benefit as well as for the benefit of the wider region," the Greek foreign ministry response read.