ATHENS – Keeping up non-stop violations of Greek airspace while claiming to want peace in the region, Turkey sent two CN-235 surveillance aircraft flew over the northeastern, central and southeastern Aegean on Aug. 15, defense sources told Kathimerini.
The aircraft carried out 33 violations of Greece’s national airspace and three violations or air traffic rules in Athens’ Flight Information Region (FIR) the report said, with both identified by the Greek Air Force which sent fighter jets to chase them away.
Turky has been especially sore since being shut out of buying US-made F-35 fighter jets that would give their pilots an edge over Greek pilots using F-16’s, but Turkish Defense Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said there’s still a chance his country can get the American fighters.
In July, the US announced it was suspending the country from the program because Turkey went ahead and bought a Russian S-400 missile system that NATO – to which Turkey, Greece and US belong – said could compromise its defenses.
The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were flown into Turkey on the same month after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he didn’t care what anyone thought and that the Russian defense systems would be purchased.
“There is no such thing like Turkey’s official removal from the (F-35) program,” Cavusoglu told a press conference in Ankara, according to a translated report by news website Ahval, contradicting US reports that Turkey can’t buy them.
The minister said Turkey and the US will be able to resolve the problem. “Otherwise both countries take steps, relations strain unnecessarily and this is to nobody’s benefit,” he said, and he has support from US President Donald Trump who said he still wants Turkey to get the jets even though it could compromise Greece’s security as well.