Balkans: October 27, 2000


Oh what a mess it was. AFSOUTH's October 25th press release for NATO Exercise Destined Glory 2000 mentioned the 70 ships, 100 fixed-wing aircraft, 70 helicopters, and 21,000 troops participating in the exercise- but skirted the problems between Greece and Turkey. On October 19 and 20 Greek and Turkish fighter planes engaged in mock dogfights near Cyprus. In one incident, two Greek A-7 Corsair bombers and two Greek F-16s were buzzed by Turk fighters in the airspace between Rhodes and Cyprus. Also on October 20, a Greek amphibious landing team (127 men) landed on the Turkish Aegean coast near Saros. This successful act of military cooperation between Greece and Turkey occurred despite the problems in the air exercise. However, on October 21 Greece suspended participation the exercise, citing the air incident near Cyprus and once again complaining about Turkish interference with airspace over the Aegean. In turn, a Turk spokesman accused the Greeks of violating NATO's rules governing airspace control. On October 22, all Greek forces quit the exercise completely. A Greek spokesman rejected what it described as Turkey's demand for the demilitarization of the Greek islands of Limnos and Ikaria. (Austin Bay)


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