EU official urges Turkey to end overflights

Reflecting the sentiments in both Washington and Brussels that Turkish overflights above Greek islands are an unnecessary escalation, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in a letter to Turkish Foreign Mevlut Cavusoglu that this behavior moves in the opposite direction to de-escalation.

According to diplomatic sources, Borrell’s letter sent a few days ago was a reply to a recent one by Cavusoglu who accused Greece of being more or less responsible for the tension in Greek-Turkish relations.

Borrell reportedly said that the overflights over Greek territory, statements that question Greece’s non-negotiable sovereignty over Aegean islands, as well as the escalation of hostile rhetoric against Greece and the Greek people, are moving in the opposite direction to de-escalation.

Moreover, he added, “they create a negative dynamic from which there is no benefit.”

Turkish overflights are continuously cited by Greek diplomacy in order to highlight the often dangerous character of Turkish revisionism.

In his letter Borrell also reportedly referred to the need for the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the continental shelf through dialogue and full respect for international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, but he also referred to recourse to the International Court of Justice in The Hague as one of the ways to peacefully resolve the existing disputes.