A serious accident was narrowly averted on over the Eastern Aegean Sea after a Turkish F-16 fighter jet harassed a Greek military ”Super Puma” helicopter.
According to the Greek Defense Ministry, two Turkish F-16 fighter jets violated the Greek airspace at 12:42 local time (10:42 G.M.T.).
The Turkish jets entered without permission from the Athens Flight Information Region (F.I.R.) and flew over the islet of Farmakonisi.
One of them approached the Greek helicopter causing severe turbulence. The pilot of the helicopter managed to stabilize it before it was too late.
The F-16 reportedly came within less than 100 feet of the helicopter, destabilizing it.
According to the Greek daily Kathimerini, the incident was seriously dangerous, because if the helicopter was older, it would probably not withstand the turbulence caused by the Turkish jet’s maneuvers.
The incident raised concern among Greece’ military leadership and the Defense Ministry, given that Turkish violations in the Aegean have been known to spike in the run-up to the anniversary of the crisis over the Imia islet on January 28, 1996, which almost led to war between the two countries.