Ankara complains Greek Air Force harassed Turkish ship conducting illegal surveys in the Aegean

Greek F-16

Ankara complained that four Greek F-16 fighter jets harassed the Turkish TCG Çeşme research vessel that is conducting illegal hydrographic research in the Aegean Sea.

TCG Çeşme is attempting to carry out research in the Aegean Sea after a NAVTEX, the international maritime navigational telex/notification system, was issued by the coastal station of Smyrna (Σμύρνα, Turkish: İzmir).

Turkey’s illegal NAVTEX in the Aegean.

The Smyrna-based NAVTEX notification is an illegal act since Turkey has no authority to issue a NAVTEX to seafarers for hydrographic work in this area of the Aegean as it is the responsibility of the Lemnos station.

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Greek F-16.

Turkey complained that one of four Greek fighter jets “harassed” the TCG Çeşme by dropping flares two nautical miles away.

In a statement, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that “unfortunately it is one of the frequent harassments of Greece. We have our own rules and we responded appropriately in the context of these rules.”

Athens denied the allegation that the TCG Çeşme was harassed by the Greek Air Force.

Sources from the Greek Ministry of Defense stated that the Air Force are not active in the area where TCG Çeşme is located.

As the same sources pointed out, the training activity of the Air Force is several miles southwest of the area. 

They also stressed that no Greek fighters flew over TCG Çeşme, nor did any Turkish fighters reach the spot.

READ MORE: Turkish ship embarks on its illegal research in the middle of the Aegean.