The tragic death of Hellenic Air Force pilot Yorgos Baltadoros is yet another unnecessary demonstration of the self-sacrifice of Greek pilots, who daily go to battle in defence of our national interests. .
Pilots and aircraft operate perpetually in borderline conditions, confronted at any given moment with unpredictable situations, risking their own lives in order to do their duty.
The decades’ long tensions in the Aegean – at varying paces, depending on the period – are, unfortunately, a constant source of danger for those in the frontline.
It is no coincidence that over 100 Greek pilots – we do not know the number of Turks – have lost their lives, either in mission readiness exercises or in the daily, undeclared war that emerged in the last decades.
One wishes at least that the loss of Yorgos Baltadoros could be occasion to stop, or at least limit, the daily battles over the Aegean. The message of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to PM Alexis Tsipras is an initial, positive indication that the other side at long last is beginning to understand that this daily tension is futile.
In an already tumultuous corner of the world, it is in the interest of neither Greece nor Turkey to perpetuate tensions, fuel an arms race, and maintain their forces in a constant state of readiness.
Threats and territorial claims, on land and at sea, have no place in the relations between countries that are members of the same military alliance, Nato, or pursue, as Turkey does, membership in the European family.
Greece has proven countless times that it wants a peaceful resolution of any differences.
It is time for the Turkish leadership to understand that, and set aside nationalist hysteria and neo-Ottoman pipe dreams.