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Greek jets harass Turkish research vessel in Aegean Sea - defense chief

Greek fighter jets harassed a Turkish scientific research vessel in international waters in the northern on Tuesday. One of four Greek fighter jets approaching the TCG Cesme in the west of Lemnos Island launched a chaff cartridge from two nautical miles (2.3 miles) away, according to security sources.

Agencies and A News WORLD
Published February 23,2021
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Turkey said on Tuesday that four Greek jets harassed a Turkish research vessel in the Aegean Sea.

The TCG Çeşme was engaged in hydrographic surveying activities during the incident and is slated to continue its scientific and technical research in the region until March 2 under its annual activity schedule.

The Turkish defence ministry said the four Greek F-16s approached the Çeşme on Monday and one dropped a chaff flare two nautical miles from the vessel.


Chaff prevention systems are found in most military aircraft and are used to trick heat and radar-guided missiles. The cartridges are launched either by the pilots or automatically by on-board systems.

Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey responded with the "necessary retaliation... in line with the rules".

"While we are carrying out scientific work, harassment is not appropriate, it is not befitting of good neighbourly ties," he told reporters in parliament.

Greece has continued to escalate tensions in the region since the restart of exploratory talks between Ankara and Athens earlier this year, according to Turkish sources.

Since Jan. 25 when the talks began, 20 Greek vessels and numerous air elements have carried out military exercises in the area, including in international waters northwest of Skyros island.

Greece also issued notices of submarine activities on Feb. 10-17, announcing that the islands of Bozbaba (Agios Efstratios), Samothrace, Limnos, Thasos, Lesbos, Chios, Psara, Ahikeria, and Samos islands -- which hold demilitarized status -- as being within its territorial waters.

It further issued a notice that its submarines would hold a practice-fire exercise in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean between March 17 and April 27, again declaring Bozbaba, Samothrace, Limnos, Lesbos, Chios, Psara, as well as the also demilitarized-status Meis, as being within its territorial waters.

Security experts have described Greece's activities as a clear indication of stoking tensions and aversion to compromise, negotiations, and dialogue.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiations.

After a five-year hiatus, Turkish and Greek officials met on Jan. 25 to discuss a decades-old dispute over the delimitation of maritime zones and rights to energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The allies have agreed to meet again in Athens.

Athens said it has sent an invitation to Ankara suggesting the talks resume in early March, ahead of an EU summit. Ankara has said it wants to continue talks and improve ties with the EU.