Turkish army command claims Israeli aircraft made incursions into area of oil and gas exploration in east Mediterranean.
ISTANBUL - Turkey scrambled military jets to
intercept an Israeli plane that violated the airspace of northern Cyprus
this week, the Turkish high command said on Thursday.Relations between former allies Turkey and Israel have fallen apart since Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara
aid vessel in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip
and killed nine Turks in clashes with pro-Palestinian activists.
- [*] IDF weighs interceptors for offshore gas platforms[/*][*]
Israel, Cyprus gas finds spur Mediterranean race[/*]
incident coincided with tensions on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus
over oil and gas exploration plans there, which could hinder UN-backed
efforts to reunite the island."A plane belonging to Israel, the
model of which could not be identified, violated KKTC (Turkish Republic
of Northern Cyprus) airspace (above its territorial waters) five times,"
the military said."In response to this situation, our 2XF-16
plane based at Incirlik was scrambled and our planes carried out patrol
flights in KKTC airspace, preventing the said plane from continuing to
violate KKTC airspace," said the statement, posted on the Turkish
general staff's website.In Jerusalem, an IDF spokeswoman said she was checking the report.
has been divided since 1974, when the Turkish military invaded the
island after a short-lived Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military
junta then in power in Athens.Turkey still keeps about 30,000
troops in the north and is the only nation that recognizes the
self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.The
internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government reported an offshore
natural gas discovery in December but its attempt to exploit the
reserves has been challenged by Turkey.Ankara has in turn given
approval for Turkey's state-run oil firm to carry out oil and gas
exploration in six offshore areas around northern Cyprus, drawing
condemnation from the Greek Cypriot government, which lays claim to the
territory.Israel has separately reported two major energy finds offshore in the sea separating it from Cyprus.
Israel has worked to enhance ties with Cyprus and Greece as its relations with Turkey have frayed.
eastern Mediterranean has recently seen joint Israeli military
maneuvers with its partners, as well as long-distance training by
Israel's air force for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear
facilities.The Israelis use warplanes and pilotless drones, as well as naval craft, to patrol their natural gas fields.
stirred fears of a possible confrontation at sea by saying last year it
would boost its naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean.But a
senior Israeli military officer told Reuters there had been no
discernible increase in Turkish naval operations in Israel's economic
waters, which extend 187 km (117 miles) from its coast.
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In: Other Middle East
Tags: Israel, Turkey, war, Jews, violate, turkish, airspace, fighter, jets, military
Location: Turkey (load item map)
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