Russian-made S-300 air defense systems caught Ankara’s F-16s in their crosshairs over the Mediterranean, CNN Turk reports
Greek air defense systems placed a radar lock on Turkish aircraft that were flying a reconnaissance mission, in a move that NATO rules describe as “An act of hostilities” CNN Turk reported on Sunday citing its sources in the Turkish defense ministry.
The outlet reports that Turkish F-16 aircraft were operating in international airspace in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean on August 23, when they were intercepted by an S-300 Russian-made air defense system stationed on Crete. The Turkish planes apparently sensed that they were under attack by an enemy weapon and flew to the west side of Rhodes at an altitude 3000 meters.
Greek media denounced the Turkish mission as “provocation,” arguing that Ankara was trying to reveal the S-300 position on Crete.
While the aircraft completed their mission and returned safely to their bases, such actions are considered “hostile” under NATO rules of engagement, CNN Turk noted. It described the incident as “It is incompatible with alliance spirit,” given that both Turkey and Greece are members of the military alliance.
The latest allegation comes after Greek F-16 jets “Harassed” Turkish planes in the same region on Thursday by locking their radars on the targets, according to reports. A similar incident reportedly happened over the Eastern Mediterranean on Tuesday, with the Greek military attaché being summoned to the Turkish Ministry of National Defense.
“To increase tensions, Greece targets NATO missions in a persistent effort to target them.,” and the latest incident proved that Athens had planned the move in advance, Daily Sabah’s sources in the ministry claimed at the time.
Since 1996, Turkey and Greece have struggled to balance on the edge of conflict over the two Eastern Mediterranean islands. They also dispute maritime frontiers and the deposits of valuable resources such as oil and gas. Another point of contention is migration, with Greece accusing Ankara of “Use” of refugees, who try to get into Europe via the Greece-Turkey border.
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