Greece challenged NATO by using S-300 systems against Turkey: Erdogan
Turkey accuses Greece of challenging NATO by using the S-300 air defense system against its aircraft over the Agean sea.
Greece challenged NATO by using the Russian S-300 air defense system to target Turkish military aircraft, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
CNN Turk broadcaster reported on Sunday, citing sources in the Turkish defense ministry, that Greece deployed an S-300 air defense system to track the F-16 fighters of the Turkish air forces performing a reconnaissance mission on August 23.
"Despite these hostile actions, the planes fulfilled their planned tasks and safely returned to their bases," Turkish media reported. Sources in the Greek Defense Ministry categorically denied Turkey's claims that Athens deployed its S-300 system in Crete against Turkey's F-16s, describing the statements as "myths" aimed at creating a hostile attitude toward Greece.
"Greece has challenged NATO and allies by escalating its hostile behavior, which started by harassing our airspace and aircraft, to the level of engaging the S-300s. Greece is neither our political, economic, nor military partner and interlocutor," Turkish news portal Haberler quoted President Erdogan as saying.
Greek government spokesperson Ioannis Oikonomou said on Monday that Turkey has been distorting reality and spreading false facts when accusing Greece of targeting its military aviation.
The official stressed that Greece has always respected NATO's obligations and has always complied with international treaties and laws, remaining a factor of stability and peace in the Agean and Mediterranean seas.
Turkey has stepped up its criticism of Greece since Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke to the US Congress last May, during which he openly criticized Turkey without giving prior notice.
Turkish authorities also accused the Greeks of establishing a military presence in the islands of the Aegean Sea in violation, according to them, of two treaties.
The countries were on the verge of armed conflict three times in the summer of 2020. Greece had to mobilize its armed forces after Turkey launched a seismic survey in the Eastern Mediterranean, the area Athens sees within its exclusive economic zone.