As reported in the previous post the Greek Coast Guard helicopter fleet recently became operational and started patrolling for illegal immigrants in the framework of the FRONTEX Poseidon operation. Several media outlets in Greece today report that this morning a Greek Coast Guard helicopter found itself on the receiving end of an interception by F-16s of the Turkish Air Force. The Greek helicopter had taken off from Kos Island at 06:13 and discovered a group of 59 illegal immigrants at sea east of Fournoi Island. The helicopter had been receiving the usual threatening messages from a Turkish radar station on the opposite coast, claiming that the helicopter was flying in Turkish airspace.
At 06:57 Turkish fighters took off from Dalaman Airbase and reached Samos Island at 07:08. Greek fighters were scrambled from Limnos and reached the scene as the Turkish fighters were approaching the Greek Coast Guard helicopter. The Turkish F-16s approached the helicopter to one nautical mile and with a vertical separation of 1,000 feet. As the Turkish fighters were taking position against the helicopter the Greek interceptors locked on to them after which the Turkish fighters disengaged.