Turkish bombers are invading Greek airspace – not uncommon lately. What is new, however, is that they are approaching the US base in the port of Alexandroupolis. What are the motives?

Two Turkish fighter jets entered Greek airspace on Friday and came within 2.5 kilometers of the northeastern port city of Alexandroupoli. The Foreign Ministry in Athens spoke of an “unprecedented violation of national sovereignty”. It is a “very clear escalation of Turkish provocations”.

The fact that Turkish bombers violate Greek airspace and even fly over inhabited areas has happened almost every day. What is new, however, is that they are heading for the port of Alexandroupolis. The US military maintains a base there through which military equipment can be transported overland to the Ukrainian border within a few hours. The US-Greek cooperation is a thorn in Ankara’s side – the US is thus avoiding the sea route via the Dardanelles Strait and the Bosporus.

The action undermines NATO’s cohesion and priorities and poses a clear threat to the EU, as the port of Alexandroupoli is a key transport hub for the allies, the Greek Foreign Ministry said. Athens lodged a protest with the Turkish ambassador; the EU, NATO and the United Nations (UN) were also informed.

Ankara’s motivations are unclear; so far, overflights by Turkish fighter jets have been seen as a means of questioning the sovereignty of Greek islands. However, Ankara’s veto on Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO is now also on the table.