21:20 GMT18 September 2020
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    Turkish Air Force jets were scrambled after Greek F-16s approached the country's NAVTEX area – an up to 400 nautical mile-wide (740-kilometre) zone covering waters in proximity to shores to help ships navigate. Ankara used the NAVTEX system to send Athens information about its seismic surveys in search for offshore resources.

    Turkey’s Defence Ministry released a video recorded by one of the Turkish Air Force’s F-16s that were scrambled on 27 August to intercept F-16 jets belonging to Greece. The footage shows the Turkish fighter's targeting interface closely following a Greek jet.

    The Turkish F-16s were dispatched after the Greek fighters, which took off from an airbase on Crete, flew towards southern Cyprus and approached the so-called NAVITEX zone. NAVITEX is a system used to help vessels navigate coastal waters and usually covers an area 400 nautical miles (740 kilometres) wide. Ankara has used it, among other things, to send over data about the survey activities of its research vessel that are looking for pockets of offshore energy resources near Cyprus to Greece.

    These research activities, which Turkey has promised to follow up with drilling, have become a source of escalating tensions between the two countries. Ankara claims control over certain parts of Cyprus’ offshore waters, which were given to it from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and insists it has the right to discover and extract energy resources there. Athens does not recognise these claims and mobilised military forces after Turkey resumed geological survey activities early in August 2020.

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    Tags:
    survey, oilfield, drilling, Greece, Turkey, F-16
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