Turkey demands aggravated life sentence for Greek pilot over alleged jet downing
Banu Şen - İZMİRTurkish prosecutors have demanded two aggravated life sentences for a Greek pilot who allegedly downed a Turkish F-16 jet in the Aegean in 1996.
The fighter jet navigated by Pilot Captain Nail Erdoğan took off from the Marmara province of Balıkesir for training on Oct. 8, 1996. The jet later crashed to the south of the Greek island of Chios. The second pilot Lt. Col. Osman Çiçekli was rescued, but Erdoğan and the wreckage of the jet could not be found.
The incident was referred to as a dogfight and aircraft accident in the legal documents.
Erdoğan’s children and lawyer applied to the Greek authorities for filing a criminal lawsuit against the Greek pilot, as Turkish officials submitted a petition claiming that the jet was downed and Erdoğan was killed intentionally.
Accordingly, the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office completed the investigation into the incident after obtaining radar and conversation records of the two jets from the General Staff. The radar and conversation records of the Greek pilot were also translated into Turkish, as Çiçekli gave his testimony and filed a complaint.
The indictment demanded that Greek Mirage 200 pilot Thanos Grivas be sentenced to two aggravated life sentences on charges of “voluntary manslaughter” and “actions for weakening the independence of the state.” It also demanded another 12 years for “vandalizing the jet.”
“It was determined that the jet caught fire and crashed by burning when conversation records of the pilots and radar were examined. In the testimony, Lt. Col. Çiçekli said they were shot down by a missile fired from one of the jets without motive in international airspace,” the petition read.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for Erdoğan family, Mehmet Emin Keleş, said the trial would be held in Turkey unless the Greek authorities take action, due to a judicial assistance agreement with Greece. He also said the pilot would be arrested during the trial process, as it was in the Mavi Marmara case with Israel, and a red notice would be issued.
Keleş also presented examples from media reports on the incident published in Turkey and Greece.