Ankara to send radar traces of S-300 harassment of Turkish jets to NATO
Türkiye’s Defense Ministry will send the radar traces and pictures of the Greek harassment of the Turkish jets by the S-300 air defense systems to NATO as well as to all 30 allied countries, according to sources.
The move comes after continued harassment of the Turkish jets carrying out NATO missions over the Aegean and Mediterranean by the Greek army. The ministry announced three separate harassment incidents in the past week, accusing Athens of putting the NATO missions at a huge risk.
The radar traces and pictures will be sent to the office of the NATO secretary-general and defense ministries of all 30 allied countries, sources said.
According to the ministry, the Greek warplanes scrambled to harass the Turkish F-16s on Aug. 22 and 24 by locking their radars on to them. The incidents took place while the Turkish jets were escorting the American warplanes and other allied airplanes on these dates, the ministry cited.
On Aug. 23, the Crete-based S-300 air defense system of Greece locked on to the Turkish F-16s, the ministry announced, calling the move “hostile” and inconsistent with the spirit of the NATO alliance. Greece has been deploying the Russian systems in Crete since 1999. The original buyer of these weapons was Greek Cyprus but it could not deploy them as a result of the harsh reaction from Türkiye in the late 1990s.
The incident has shown that Greece is actively using the systems.
After Greece categorically denied the incidents, Ankara decided to take the issue to the NATO headquarters, sources added. Greece accused Türkiye of violating its airspace and not informing about the flight plans beforehand.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar replied to Athens’ version of the incidents, informing that all the flight plans have already been shared with all the NATO countries since early July.
Greece violated Turkish airspace 256 times
The ministry also informed that the Greek warplanes violated the Turkish airspace 256 times since the beginning of 2022. In addition, they harassed the Turkish jets 158 times this year, the ministry said. On the sea, the Greek coastal guards violated the Turkish territorial waters 33 times, it added.
Ankara and Athens are at odds over the Aegean and Mediterranean where they are in dispute over overlapping sovereign areas in the air and on the sea. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had initiated a deconfliction mechanism for Türkiye and Greece at NATO, but the latter suspended the meetings.