NATO operation starts amid Greek-Turkish tensions
NATO’s new maritime security operation, Sea Guardian, which kicked off yesterday in the central Mediterranean with the participation of a Greek submarine and a Turkish frigate, is seen as symbolic of the need for cooperation between the two countries.
However, tensions flared again between Athens and Ankara after a Turkish Coast Guard helicopter entered the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and flew over the is- land of Panaghia at an altitude of 1,000 feet. The Sea Guardian operation deployed three ships and two submarines, and is linked to counterterrorism, capacity building and the bid to patrol the seas. The operation, which is set to include a larger role of the Souda base on Crete, plans to join forces with the EU’s Operation Sophia, already under way in the region, implying that earlier differences between EU member Cyprus and NATO member Turkey have been overcome.