An accident was narrowly averted on Friday after a Turkish F-16 fighter jet reportedly harassed a Greek Super Puma helicopter, according to reports that emerged on Saturday.
The incident occurred shortly before noon south of the eastern Aegean islet of Farmakonisi as the Super Puma conducted a search for a boat carrying illegal migrants.
The F-16 reportedly came within less than 100 feet of the helicopter, destabilizing it.
According to reliable sources, the pilots of the Super Puma managed with difficulty to keep the helicopter on course.
Experienced airmen told Kathimerini that if the Super Puma had been an older model the outcome could have been tragic.
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.