Turkish and Greek fighters engage in dogfight over the Aegean Sea

According to Greek media outlets, Greek and Turkish jets engaged in a brief dogfight over the Aegean Sea after Turkish aircraft violated Greek airspace “several times.”

As we already explained in the aftermath of the Russian Su-24 shootdown by a Turkish Air Force (TuAF) F-16 over the Syria-Turkey border last month, the skies surrounding the disputed islands of the Aegean Sea are often the theater of incidents between the HAF (Hellenic Air Force) and the TuAF.

In fact Greece claims 10 miles of air space around a chain of Greek islands lined up along the Turkish west coast, part of those are in very close proximity to the mainland, while Turkey recognizes only six miles (that is to say the extent of the Greek territorial waters, recognized by each other): even though the Greek authorities often report unauthorised military flights directly over the Greek islands, the majority of the close encounters and alleged violations (2,244 in 2014) take place within the four-mile radius between the boundary of the territorial waters (as said, recognized by both parties) and the 10-mile radius which Athens considers its sovereign airspace (while Ankara considers international one).

The latest such incidents (the first since early December) occurred on Dec. 29.

According to Ekathimerini.com, Greek and Turkish jets engaged in a brief dogfight over the Aegean Sea after a formation of six Turkish aircraft “flanked by two CN-235 aircraft that were not in formation” violated Greek national air space nine times.

Noteworthy, two Turkish jets were armed.

It’s not clear where the violations took place but according to the Greek media the TuAF jets were chased by HAF interceptors in all cases.

In the past some of these mock dogfights did not end well. In Jun. 1992 a Greek Mirage F1 crashed during an aerial engagement with a Turkish F-16. In February 1995, a TuAF F-16 crashed after being intercepted by Greek Mirage F1s. In Oct. 1996, a HAF Mirage 2000 fired an R.550 Magic II and shot down a Turkish F-16D that had violated the Greek airspace.

On May 23, 2006, two HAF F-16s intercepted a TuAF RF-4 escorted by two F-16s: the subsequent dogfight resulted in a midair collision between a TuAF F-16 and a HAF F-16: whilst the Turkish pilot ejected safely, the Greek pilot died in the incident.

Image credit: Alan Wilson / Wiki. H/T Isaac Alexander for the heads-up

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About David Cenciotti 3632 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.