F-16 crash heightens tension in Aegean
Thursday 09 February 1995
A Turkish military spokesman said the F-16 was on a training flight in international airspace and crashed off Rhodes because of a technical error. The pilot parachuted to safety and was taken by the Greek coastguard to a hospital on Rhodes.
Greek officials said the Turkish plane was one of four F-16s that had flown into Greek airspace. Two Greek Mirage F-1s were scrambled from a base in Crete to force the F-16s back to Turkey, but no shots were fired.
The Greek island of Rhodes is so close to the Turkish coast that Turkish planes flying in the area are often accused by the Greek authorities of violating Greek airspace. The two countries are also at odds over Greece's defence of its right to extend itsterritorial waters from six to 12 miles.
Turkey argues that this would turn the Aegean into a virtual Greek lake and could provoke a war, but Greece says it has no plans to exercise its right for the moment. Greece and Turkey came close to war in 1987 in a dispute over mineral rights in the Aegean.
Both Greece and Turkey are considering whether to accept a European Union proposal to form a customs union with Turkey in return for starting talks on full EU membership for Cyprus. The initiative, unveiled last Monday, envisages that negotiations would open six months after the end of an EU inter-governmental conference that will start next year and will probably last well into 1997.
Cyprus has been divided into Turkish and Greek sectors since 1974, when Turkish troops launched an invasion in response to a Greek attempt to unite the island with Greece. The Turkish sector proclaimed itself a separate state in 1983 but no country except Turkey recognises it. Consequently, the EU membership talks would be conducted with the Greek Cypriot government, although the EU wants Turkish Cypriot representatives to attend as well.
Turkey's Foreign Minister, Murat Karayalcin, said this week that he feared the EU's handling of Cyprus's membership bid would "block all prospects for a settlement of the dispute over Cyprus". Turkish Cypriot officials have suggested in the past that they would seek union with Turkey if the Greek Cypriots joined the EU, but the Turkish government is unenthusiastic about such plans, knowing they would torpedo the proposed customs union with the EU.
Greece has its own objections to the EU proposal. Government spokesmen say the deal made public last Monday is different from a plan agreed last month between Greece and France, which holds the rotating EU presidency.
The only difference to which the spokesmen have publicly referred concerns the financial aid to be given to Turkey under the customs-union agreement. But in Greece the Pasok socialist government of Andreas Papandreou has come under attack from oppositionparties for even considering the EU deal, and officials say the government will wait until 13 February before deciding whether to accept it.
The EU drew up its plan with the aim of prodding the two Cypriot communities into settling their differences. Anxious not to turn the Cyprus problem into an internal EU matter, the Union will not hurry to admit Cyprus as long as the island is divided into what are in effect two states.
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new
TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow
Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 4 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
- 5 Michael McIntyre walks off stage after woman in the front row uses her phone
Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: Olympic star must serve 10 years, prosecutor urges
Isis fighters 'crucify' 17-year-old boy in Syria
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said "A good larger...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said The outstandin...
£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...