Turkey accuses Greece of harassing Turkish F-16s
Ankara says Athens is using the Russian S-300 in its "hostile actions".
Turkey, on Sunday, accused NATO rival Greece of using Russian-made air defense systems to harass Turkish jets on a reconnaissance mission, dubbing the incident a "hostile action".
On August 23, Greece's S-300 missile system on Crete put a lock on Turkish F-16 jets flying west of Rhodes, at 10,000 feet, according to Turkish Defense Ministry sources.
According to the sources, the action was "incompatible with the spirit of (NATO) alliance" and amounted to "hostile acts" under NATO's rules of engagement. "Despite this hostile action, (Turkish) jets completed their planned missions and returned to their base safely."
The Greek side denied the incident, with sources arguing that "Greece's S-300 missile system has never put a lock on Turkish F-16 jets."
Ankara has been accusing Athens of provocations, which it says undermines efforts for peace. The two countries have, for long, been head to head with territorial disputes in sea and air, which lead to air force patrols and interception missions almost daily.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cut the line of dialogue with his Greek counterpart, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, after learning that he'd lobbied to block US arms sales to Turkey. Within this context, Turkey was sanctioned in 2019 for purchasing Russian missile defense systems.
Ankara, noting that Athens had purchased Russian air defense systems, criticized other Western countries for doing the same with their two-sided policies.
At the end of last month, July, Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock slammed Turkey over the disputed islands located in the Aegean sea.
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 pro-government media interpreted the speech as an appeal to Washington not to supply the F-16 fighter jets it requested from the US.
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.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Ankara would challenge Greece's sovereignty over the islands if it continued to send troops there.
“Greece has violated the status of these islands and must disarm them. Otherwise, a debate on their sovereignty will begin,” he told the Anatolia news agency.