Turkey and Greece engage in 'dogfight' with F-16 jets on the Mediterranean

Turkey and Greece engage in 'dogfight' with F-16 jets on the Mediterranean
Turkey and Greece clashed in the air as fighter jets engaged along the Mediterranean.
2 min read
28 August, 2020

Turkey fought off six Greek F-16 fighter jets as they approached the region in the Eastern Mediterranean where Turkey issued a maritime Navtex alert, the country’s National Defence Ministry revealed.

This comes as Ankara resumed gas exploration activities in the region despite criticism from neighbouring Greece.

Turkey’s Air Forces’ radar systems detected six jets taking off from Greece’s Crete Island going towards Southern Cyprus, the ministry said in a statement.

Turkish F-16 fighter jets responded by intercepting the jets after they discovered they were from Greece.

Navtex is a maritime communications system.

Turkey said energy resources near the island must be shared fairly with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkey extended its controversial Mediterranean gas exploration mission and scheduled new navy drills as its row with Greece and the EU over energy and borders threatened to spiral out of control.

The Turkish navy said it was prolonging the stay of the Oruc Reis research vessel and its accompanying warships in waters claimed by Greece by an extra five days to Tuesday.

It also announced plans to hold "gunnery exercises" at the edge of its territorial waters in the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said the shoopting drills were not related to Turkey's fight with Greece over access to newly discovered reserves that could offer Europe a vast new source of energy and cut its dependence on Russia.

But he also defiantly vowed to continue Turkey's various exploration activities in the east Mediterranean region for "as long as they are needed".

"We are determined to protect our rights," the Turkish defence minister said.

The two NATO members have been staging rival war games in a conflict that could imperil Europe's access to vast new energy deposits and further destabilise war-torn Libya and parts of the Middle East.

An increasingly agitated Germany said ahead of an EU foreign ministers' meeting on the crisis in Berlin that both countries had to end their naval manuevers if they really wanted a peaceful solution to the dispute.

"The preconditions for (direct negotiations) are that these manoeuvres in the eastern Mediterranean are stopped," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after completing a failed round of diplomacy in Athens and Ankara this week.

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