Ankara plans to show the NATO alliance evidence that Greek military planes violated Turkish airspace.
Ankara intends to share with NATO member states radar recordings of Greece’s alleged use of S-300 air defense systems in pursuit of Turkish aircraft, A Haber The TV channel reported, citing sources at the Defense Ministry.
The Turkish Defense Ministry will send the radar data of the Greek S-300 air defense systems escorting the Turkish F-16 jets to the NATO General Secretariat as well as to the 30 allied countries, the TV channel reported, adding that Greece continues to violate Turkey. waters and airspace.
On August 23, the Greek S-300 missile system in Crete locked down Turkish F-16 planes flying west of Rhodes at 10,000 feet, Turkish Defense Ministry sources said.
The sources said the action was “inconsistent with the spirit of the (NATO) alliance” and constituted “hostile acts” under NATO’s rules of engagement. “Despite this hostile action, the (Turkish) jets completed their scheduled missions and returned to their base safely.”
“Greece has defied NATO and its allies by escalating its hostile behavior, which began with harassing our airspace and aircraft, to the level of the S-300 engagement. Greece is neither our partner nor our political, economic or military interlocutor,” said Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan.
The Greek side denied the incident, with sources claiming that “the Greek S-300 missile system never locked down Turkish F-16 aircraft”. He accused Turkey of distorting reality and spreading false facts by accusing Greece of targeting its military aircraft.
Read more: US Senate: Ankara must change policy if it wants to buy F-16s
Since the beginning of the year, Greek military planes have violated Turkish airspace 256 times and chased Turkish planes 158 times, the TV channel said, adding that Greek coast guard boats had also violated waters. Turkish 33 times.
CNN Turkish The broadcaster reported on Sunday, citing Turkish Defense Ministry sources, that Greece had deployed an S-300 air defense system to escort Turkish Air Force F-16 fighters carrying out a reconnaissance mission at 10,000 feet at the west of the island of Rhodes on August 23. According to Turkish media, the planes completed their scheduled tasks and returned safely to their bases, despite the hostile actions.
Sources from the Greek Ministry of Defense have categorically denied Ankara’s claims that Athens deployed its S-300 system in Crete against Turkish F-16s, describing these statements as myths aimed at creating a hostile attitude towards Greece .
Relations between Athens and Ankara have been complicated for decades. The countries have been on the brink of armed conflict three times in the summer of 2020. Greece had to mobilize its armed forces after Turkey launched a seismic survey in the eastern Mediterranean, the area Athens considers its zone exclusive economy.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cut off the line of dialogue with his Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, after learning he had lobbied to block US arms sales to Turkey. In this context, Turkey was sanctioned in 2019 for purchasing Russian missile defense systems.
Ankara, noting that Athens had bought Russian air defense systems, criticized other Western countries for doing the same with their bilateral policies.
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In July, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock criticized Turkey over disputed islands in the Aegean Sea.
Turkey has intensified its criticism of Greece since Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressed the US Congress last May, during which he openly criticized Turkey without warning.
Pro-government Turkish media interpreted the speech as a call for Washington not to provide the F-16 fighter jets it had requested from the United States.
Turkish authorities have also accused the Greeks of establishing a military presence in the Aegean islands in violation, they say, of two treaties.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Ankara would challenge Greece’s sovereignty over the islands if it continues to send troops there.
“Greece has violated the status of these islands and must disarm them. Otherwise, a debate over their sovereignty will begin,” he told the Anatolia news agency.
Read more: Turkey will not give up its rights in the Aegean Sea: Erdogan