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 4450 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.

13 Comments

  1. Turks are never to be trusted.They shouldn’t even belong to NATO as they are already escorting Russian movements to assure Assads continuation as a dictator and murderer.

    • Don’t be ridiculous. Turkey (Erdogan) wants Assad to be removed from power because they have their own interests in that region. Russia is standing in the way.

  2. If/when NATO goes to a large scale war, there will be countries that will change allegiances – Greece and Turkey are most likely to leave NATO and go alone – or Greece will ally with Russia.

    • Greece and Russia are friends, sure. Greece is friends with all it neihbours, unlike Turkey.

      However, Greece is even better and longer standing friends with the USA and the UK. These partners would not allow Greece to ever leave NATO, especially in the event of a large scale war.

  3. Admittedly, some of those incidents did not end well. It’s interesting to look at those that did end well for Europe though:
    * “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.”- Turkish aggressor pilots in superior aircraft unable to compete with European pilots.
    * “In February 1995, a TuAF F-16 crashed after being intercepted by Greek Mirage F1s”- Turkish agressor pilots in superior aircraft unable to compete with European pilots even without being shot at!

    Let’s just say, it bodes well for future interactions between Turkey and Europe, whether over Turkish support of ISIS, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, or the Turkish aggression towards Greek and the rest of Europe in general.

    • A correction.its Greek pilots first and then maybe European,protecting the greek airspace not the European airspace.

    • Because the US needs them to be in the NATO to provoke a war with Russia. Remember the Jupiter missiles that sparked the Cuba crisis?

      • Lot of people do not know that Jupiter missiles in Turkey were what made N. Khruschev plant missiles in Cuba.

    • Ummm… lots of reasons, but lets use a simple one that you would understand.

      Turkey controls both sides of the Bosphorus Straits. Russia’s warm water navy is in the Black Sea on one side of the straights, the the Mediterranean Sea (and later the Atlantic) is on the other. Pretty important real estate, don’t you think?

      And, they are in Western civilization and “Western” is not a prerequisite to being in a military alliance (see Japan, South Korea).

  4. What is happening over there continues to spiral…and not at a slow rate. It’s actually rather dizzying how quickly it is all coming apart, seemingly. Will sides need to be taken…?

Comments are closed.