Greece Refuses to Cede Any Sovereignty to Turkey

ATHENS (AFP)–Greece said on Wednesday it would not even slightly cede its sovereignty to Turkey–after accusing Ankara of almost daily violations of its air and maritime space in the past few days.

"Turkey has its own positions and we stand by our own. We are not going to give up a centimeter of our sovereign rights," deputy government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told a news conference in Athens.

The Greek military authorities on Wednesday reported new Turkish violations on Greek airspace in the Aegean Sea.

"Thirteen violations of Greek airspace took place on Wednesday–while three clashes (between Greek and Turkish planes) took place near the Greek islands of Chios–Lesbos–and Limnos," military spokesman Constantin Loukopoulos said.

Improved bilateral ties with Greece–a European Union member–is of particular importance to EU candidate Turkey as it awaits a crucial December decision from Brussels on whether it will be given a date to start full membership talks.

Although strained ties between the two neighbors have improved significantly since 1999–spats in the Aegean have been frequent for years as Athens and Ankara remain at loggerheads over territorial and air control rights there.

The Turkish foreign ministry denied Monday the Greek charges–saying that Turkish ships and planes had been carrying out routine training operations in the area.

Greece said it supports Turkey’s integration in Europe but has not clarified if it will come out in favor of Ankara`s EU bid in December.

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