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Turkey unexpectedly withdraws from NATO exercises

Russia Today, citing sources from Turkey, today (April 30) said that Ankara initially planned to send F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters to the annual joint exercise “Tiger Meet”. ” (roughly translated “Tiger Convergence”), to be held at Araxos Air Base in western Greece from May 9 to 22.

However, according to security reports, the Turkish Air Force Command said that the wording that Greece used in the technical documents related to the exercise was contrary to international law and demanded changes. , but was rejected by Athens.

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Greek fighter jets take part in the Independence Day parade in Athens. Photo: AP

“Despite all attempts at reconciliation by Turkey, Greece, which does not accept even neighboring countries participating in an exercise in its home country, has moved the exercise away from the purpose of friendship and coordination, at the same time trying to use it against Turkey’s rights and interests,” Sabah newspaper, citing a security source, said.

As a result, on April 22, Ankara decided not to participate in the exercise and informed the host country of the withdrawal.

Meanwhile, some other sources believe that it was Athens that decided not to allow Turkey to participate in NATO exercises in retaliation for the frequent violations of Turkish airspace by Turkish warplanes. Greek.

On April 28, the Greek Foreign Ministry expressed its strong objection to the Turkish Ambassador about the “unprecedented number of violations (by Turkey) in Greek airspace and reconnaissance flights over the country”. Greek territory, including some inhabited areas, in a single day”.

The statement did not specify the exact number of violations, but according to media reports, 125 illegal Turkish flights were recorded in just 24 hours.

“These actions create a particularly tense atmosphere in relations between the two countries, which goes against the efforts that have been made to improve this situation,” the Greek foreign ministry said.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials also announced that they were taking retaliatory measures for the Greek plane’s violation of Turkish airspace. On the same day, April 28, Ankara said that Athens had violated its airspace “30 times in just three days”.

Despite being allies in NATO, Greece and Turkey still have sharp disagreements on many issues, including claims to the continental shelf in the Mediterranean, as well as maritime and aviation claims, and geography. legal status of several small islands in the Aegean Sea and Cyprus.

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