Greek fighter crashes amid airspace tensions with Turkey
A Mirage 2000-5 of the 331th Squadron of the Hellenic Air Force crashed in the Aegean Sea, 9 nautical miles north of Skyros Island where it was deployed. The plane was coming back from an interception mission after two Turkish F-16s supposedly entered Athens’ flight information region (FIR). The pilot failed to eject and was declared dead by the Greek minister of Defense.
The mission was done and the plane was on its way back along with another interceptor. It is not known if it had previously engaged the Turkish fighters. “A committee has been set up to investigate the incident,” said an official of the Hellenic Air Force.
The Turkish Armed Force denied having any fighter jets around the area where the Mirage crashed, according to the local media.
Such encounters happen regularly on the Greco-Turkish border, as both countries have different boundary delineation over the Aegean Sea. The pilots usually engage in simulated dogfights in an attempt to push back the intruder in its airspace.
Their relationship has been increasingly tensed, with incidents becoming more and more frequents, despite the two countries being members of NATO. In 2006, two fighters, a Greek and a Turkish F-16, collided during an interception mission. The last incident dates back to March 9, 2018, when Greek soldiers shot warning rounds at a Turkish helicopter who was flying by night with its lights off over Ro Island.
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