ATHENS – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated claims that Greece missile defense systems locked on to Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean in what he called a “hostile act,” stopping short of going further.
Greece denied the Turkish accusations that a Russian-made S-300 system put tone on the Turkish F-16’s that frequently violate Greek airspace, which Turkey disputes, with the backing of the United States.
“Greece is not an equivalent or interlocutor, either politically, economically or militarily,” he said, adding there was what he called harassment of Turkish fighter jets.
Greece said that its surface-to-air missiles didn’t lock on to the Turkish F-16’s that were said to be on a reconnaissance mission in international airspace, rejecting the Turkish assertions, noted Kathimerini.
Erdogan made the remarks in a video address on the centenary of Turkey’s Victory Day, which commemorates Turkey’s victory over Greece in the Greco-Turkish War in 1922 and he used it to taunt Greece.
“Just like a century ago, we know the real intentions of those trying to waste our country’s time and energy by using Greece today,” he said, an apparent reference to France making a mutual defense pact with Greece.
Erdogan said Greece has challenged NATO and its allies by increasing its “hostile attitude,” which started with the “harassing of our airspace and aircraft, to the point of a S-300 radar lock-on.”
He didn’t mention that Turkey bought Russian S-400 missile defenses that undermine the security of NATO and could be used against Greece if a conflict were to break out.
Erdogan was also critical of the United States for offering F-35’s to Greece “and not to us,” that prohibition because he went ahead with buying the S-400’s but disputed reports Turkey will buy more.