Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Don't forget about the Greeks and Turks

Two long-time enemies who've tried to make nice with each other the last ten years, literally ran into each other earlier this week. Two F-16s, one Greek, the other Turkish, collided with each other over Aegean Sea Tuesday. The crash killed the Greek pilot. While the Turkish aviator survived, he refused to be pulled from the Aegean by a Greek rescue helicopter. He waited for one from Turkey to arrive. The two were shadowing each other just off the Greek coast. Greece claims ten miles out from its coast as its waters. Turkey says anything outside six miles of the Greek coast is international waters. This week's incident took place between the boundaries. Greece claims its jet was in its territorial waters, while Turkey says its pilot was flying in international waters.

Leaders from both countries expressed regret about the incident, but it has raised tensions. Even though it is not as glamorous as some of the other conflicts in this old contentious world, this is one of the most bitter rivalries of the past 200 years. Even Lord Byron decided to get involved on behalf of the Greeks in 1824 . Alas, he died of a fever before he saw any action.

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