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Greek jets engage Turkish aircraft

CNN Turk said on Sunday, referencing its sources inside the Turkish defence ministry, that Greek air defence systems put a missile lock on Turkish planes which were trying to fly a covert mission. This action, which NATO regulations define as “an act of hostility,” was carried out by Greek air defence systems.

According to a source, on August 23, Turkish F-16 planes were engaged in operations in controlled airspace over the Aegean Sea & Eastern Mediterranean when they became locked on by an S-300 air defence system manufactured in Moscow and located also on Crete’s largest island. At a height of 3,000 metres and to the west of the island of Rhodes, the Turkish aircraft appeared to have caught up with the fact that they were within the sights of a missile.

The Turkish operation was referred to as an “incitement” by the Greek press, with the argument being made that Ankara was attempting to divulge the location of the S-300 batteries on Crete.

An F-16 from the Turkish Air Force takes part in the annual Anatolian Eagle exercise at Spain’s Albacete Air Base. Photographer: Giovanni Colla / Getty Images

CNN Turk pointed out that even if the jets were successful in their objective and made it back to their base without incident, such activities are regarded as “unfriendly” under the NATO engagement guidelines. In light of the fact that both Turkish and Greeks are partners in the defence pact, the occurrence was deemed “irreconcilable with the principles of the relationship,” as stated in the statement.

According to sources, Greek F-16 fighter jets “hassled” Turkish warplanes in the same zone on Thursday allegedly locking their radar systems on the targets and following them around. This latest accusation comes after the incident. On Tuesday, it was reported that a similar event took place over the Eastern Mediterranean, which resulted in the Turkish Department of National Defense requesting the presence of the Greek military special envoy.

According to sources within the ministry who spoke to Daily Sabah at the time, “Greece continued to aggressively target NATO missions to build hostilities,” and the most recent incident demonstrated that Athens apparently planned the act in advance. Both of these claims were made.

Since 1996, Turks and Greeks have been teetering on the edge of war over islands inside the Eastern Mediterranean, in addition to over nautical borders and deposits of rich resources such as oil and gas. Migration is another contentious issue between the two countries; Athens is accused by Athens of “making use” of refugees who are trying to enter Europe across the border between Greece and Turkey.

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