Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Cat and Mouse Games in the Aegean

DefenceNet reports on the latest Turkish provocation in the Aegean. Turkey today completed its Search and Rescue exercise between Rhodes and Kastellorizo ignoring the fact that this area falls under Greek SAR jurisdiction but to make matters worse 10 Turkish fighters today interrupted a Greek SAR exercise between Chios and Samos.

The interesting part is that this action happened under the auspices of a NATO exercise.

The Turkish move raised tensions so high that the so called hotline between CAOC-7 in Larissa and CAOC-6 in Eskisehir had to be used.

Specifically a formation of 10 Turkish fighters (8 F-16s and 2 F-4s) that were supposedly in a joint exercise with a NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft harassed Greek assets which were conducting the Ionas 09 exercise in the area between Chios and Samos (for more on this exercise see here).

At 13:30 4 Turkish F-16s broke off from their formation and performed a low pass at an altitude of 2,200 feet over the area of the Greek exercise, thereby violating the 10,000 feet minimum height restriction as per the Greek NOTAM announcing the exercise.

The Greek side called off its exercise in order to avoid an accident which was becoming likely. At the same time Greek fighters arrived at the scene to intercept the Turkish ones.

The event lasted 5 minutes from 13.30 until 13:35 and exited the Greek FIR south of Chios Island.

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