Turkey Attempts to Decrease Tensions Over Aegean Flights

Dozens of Turkish F-16s prepare to take off during Anatolian Eagle exercise

From Hurriyet: The air force is meaningless if you do not fly its pilots, said Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ regarding the dogfights occurring over the Aegean Sea between Turkish and Greek fighter jets.

Başbuğ attended a panel at the General Staff headquarters titled “Atatürk as a soldier and politician in the 129th anniversary of his birth” during which he told the press he has spoken to his Greek counterpart 15 days ago in Brussels at a NATO meeting about the matter.

Başbuğ said Turkey is flying its planes unarmed during training flights, but Greece is not. “I have told [the Greek Chief of General Staff], ‘Let us remove those weapons. We would be decreasing the level of threat.’ My counterpart said they will think about it,” he said, adding that they are performing training flights at a minimal level and to go below that level would reduce the combat preparedness of the pilots, which is unacceptable. “Our intention is never to cause a crisis in the Aegean,” he said.  (photo: AP)

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