Turkey Says Greece Attacked Its Jets

Turkey has accused Greece of engaging in what it calls a “hostile action” by firing missiles at its F-16 fighter jets while they were on a reconnaissance mission in international airspace.

Turkish defense ministry sources were cited by the state-run Anadolu Agency on Sunday in reporting that on August 23, the radar of a Greek S-300 missile system situated on the island of Crete locked on to the Turkish jets.
According to the source, the F-16s were flying at a height of 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) to the west of the island of Rhodes in Greece when the target-tracking radar of the Russian-made S-300 latched on. Despite the “hostile environment,” the Turkish planes completed their mission and returned home.

According to officials within the Turkish defense ministry quoted by AFP, this behavior was “incompatible with the spirit of [NATO] alliance” and constituted “hostile activities” under NATO’s rules of engagement.

Despite the hostile attack, all [Turkish] jets successfully finished their missions and returned to base.

The assertion is the most recent accusation from Turkey that its NATO ally Greece has been shooting down its planes in international airspace over the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.

NATO rules of engagement classify radar lock-ons as an aggressive conduct.

Officials in Greece’s defense ministry have denied the charges. According to state-run Ert television, “Greece’s S-300 missile system has never put a lock on Turkish F-16 jets.”
After Turkish F-16s were allegedly harassed by Greek F-16s while on a NATO mission last week, Turkey summoned the Greek military attache and filed a complaint with NATO.

According to Anadolu, while over the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek pilots locked their radar on a Turkish plane. Anadolu claimed Turkey “provided the proper response” and the planes left the area.

The Greek government did not accept the Turkish account of the incident. Its defense ministry claimed that five Turkish jets showed up unexpectedly to follow a flight of US B-52 bombers through an area under Greek flight control, even though the B-52s weren’t scheduled to have a fighter escort.

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Four Greek fighters were reportedly launched and successfully repelled the Turkish planes, and Athens notified both NATO and the United States about the event.

Despite being NATO allies, Turkey and Greece have been at odds for decades over a number of issues, including territorial claims in the Aegean Sea and disagreements over the airspace there. There have been three near-war situations in the last fifty years due to their disagreements.

In 2020, a naval confrontation erupted between Greece and Cyprus over exploratory drilling rights in the Mediterranean Sea, where both countries claim EEZs.

Greek military construction on Aegean islands is being viewed with alarm in Turkey, which claims Athens is in violation of international agreements. Athens claims it must protect the islands because of the threat posed by Turkey’s vast fleet of military landing boats. Many of the islands are located near Turkey’s shore.

According to Turkey, Greece is in violation of the peace treaties signed after World Wars I and II by stationing soldiers on islands in the Aegean Sea.

After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis campaigned against US weaponry shipments to Turkey, talks between the two countries broke down.