US refrains from directly addressing Greek harassment of Turkish jets

The US continued to refrain from directly addressing Türkiye’s statements that Greece locked on to Turkish jets using its S-300 anti-air system during a NATO exercise.


A Pentagon spokesman declined to address the matter directly during a daily press briefing, saying that he is “aware of those reports.”


Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder reiterated what the Pentagon told Anadolu Agency last week, specifically that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has spoken with his Turkish and Greek counterparts to urge a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing row.


“Secretary Austin has talked in the past with both his Turkish and his Greek counterparts and emphasized the need for continued efforts to reduce tensions in the Aegean through constructive dialogue. So I’ll leave it at that,” he told reporters.


Ankara maintains that Turkish jets engaged in NATO missions over the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean seas on Aug. 23 were harassed by a Russian-made S-300 air defense system stationed on the Greek island of Crete. Greek military officials, however, have denied the Turkish account of the actions, which are described as “hostile” under the NATO Rules of Engagement.


“On the issue of radar-lock, our sensitivity persists with determination. Greece is aware of this and has thus chosen to clean up its act,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier on Tuesday.


Erdogan said Turkish officials continue to raise this issue with NATO.


Türkiye, a NATO member for over 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under the Lausanne Treaty, saying such moves frustrate its good faith efforts for peace.


Source: Anadolu Agency