Skip to comments.Greek, Turkish Jets Collide Over Aegean
Posted on 05/23/2006 11:57:14 AM PDT by nuconvert
Greek, Turkish Jets Collide Over Aegean
By DEREK GATOPOULOS,
Associated Press Writer
Warplanes from Greece and Turkey collided over the Aegean Sea as they shadowed each other Tuesday in disputed airspace, and officials said the Turkish pilot was rescued unhurt.
There were conflicting reports on the fate of the Greek pilot. A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said the Greek pilot had died, but officials in Athens said a rescue operation was still under way.
The two F-16 fighter jets collided over international waters near the island of Karpathos after two Greek jets intercepted two Turkish warplanes, military officials from both countries said.
Greek officials claimed the Turkish planes were acting as escorts to an R-F4 photo-reconnaissance plane.
Fighter planes from the two NATO members frequently intercept each other over the Aegean, mostly in areas of disputed airspace. Long-standing disputes over airspace and territorial rights in the Aegean have nearly led to three wars between them since 1974.
The Greek and Turkish military chiefs as well as both nations foreign ministers spoke shortly after the crash and said it would not escalate tensions.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gull "expressed their regret for today's incident and agreed that this incident must not affect the two countries' goal of improving their relations," the Greek Foreign Ministry said.
Aerial intercepts were especially common during the 1980s and 1990s, fueling fears they could trigger hostilities between the two countries, because the fighter jets were often armed.
Greece says its national airspace extends to 10 miles, but Turkey recognizes only six miles the same distance as territorial waters.
The Turkish military said its pilot, 1st Lt. Halil Ibrahim Ozdemir, was rescued unhurt by a merchant ship and put on a Turkish military helicopter.
The Greek statement said the planes collided at 27,000 feet after the Turkish jets "violated air traffic rules."
Greek military officials said the Turkish plane caused the collision by a "sudden maneuver." Evangelos Antonaros, a Greek government spokesman, described the crash as "a particularly unfortunate incident."
Relations between Greece and Turkey have been steadily deteriorating in recent months, despite Athens' promotion of Turkey's candidacy to join the European Union and Premier Costas Caramanalis' personal friendship with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Observers said neither country would want tensions to mount given that the lucrative tourism season is about to begin.
"Tension would be catastrophic for both countries' tourism industries," said Theodore Couloumbis, director of the Greek think tank ELIAMEP. "I don't think this incident will lead to an escalation."
The Greek jet was based at Souda Air Force base on the island of Crete. Karpathos, in the southeast Aegean, is about 270 miles from Athens.
Associated Press Writer Benjamin Harvey in Turkey and Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed to this report.
Well, they won't make it to Top Gun.
I told you not to execute that roll in close proximity....
Take away their toys. They obviously can't play together.
Guess they busted their Intercept Quals
This is a DAILY event.
Turkish incursions are a regular.
There are oil reserves in the Aegean and creating a dispute is an effort for turkey to lay claim to oil reserve access.
That is the EU's future member....
Two objects cannot occupy the the same space at the same time...........
You know...if they could just forget that whole "Helen of Troy" thing...
Talk about a game of chicken.......
"After all accounts have been settled, it was the Greeks' fault."
The USA did this every day with the soviet union.
And we still do it to China....at least
Technically, both of these countries have just sullied the F-16s PERFECT air-to-air record. Prior to this, no F-16 has lost a live air-to-air engagement.
Now for the $64K question; Which side will claim credit for the kill?
Turks are constantly harrassing coastal waters and those in ships and intruding on Greek airspace. It's a wonder and a credit to them that the Greeks have not demanded more forceful action against the Muslim Turks.
Why did I think that the headline was the start of a joke?
Well, that little tift cost both countries a pretty penny. I hope We don't ever have to depend on NATO!
There you go, having to throw in religion.
These is no reason you need to bring up the fact that these backstabbing worthless turdlike turks are mooselimbs.
Just because they turned their backs on American soldiers during the invasion of Iraq for lucre. For money, for a larger bribe, for a shakedown, filthy pigs.
Technically - they both get a kill
the record stands.
Guess they need to buy some F-35's to replace them.
Lockheed's stock rises again.