ATHENS, Greece – Mock dogfights have erupted this week between Greek (search) and Turkish (search) jets in disputed airspace over the Aegean Sea, undermining efforts between the two NATO (search) allies to overcome long-standing differences over air and sea boundaries and the divided island of Cyprus.
The dogfights occurred during a Greek air force exercise in the northern Aegean, though none of the planes opened fire. Turkey's military claimed Greek warplanes had harassed its jets on maneuvers in international airspace.
Greece on Thursday warned that the Turkish military's powerful influence could hurt its chances of eventually joining the European Union.
"(Turkey) must change the role of its armed forces and get away from its influence and its direct and indirect involvement in political issues," Foreign Minister George Papandreou said.
Greece -- the current president of the European Union -- on Wednesday lodged written complaints to NATO and the EU. Papandreou met in Brussels on Thursday with Turkish Foreign Abdullah Gul.
Turkey is seeking to start entry membership talks with the European Union in 2005 but has faced EU warnings that it must first carry out promises of political reform and improve its human rights record.
Greece has backed Turkey's bid, hoping to end decades of tension.