Obviously, Turkey underestimated the fighting spirit of the Greeks. Greek air forces responded yesterday (December 10th) to 3 massive intrusions by Turkish aircraft into Athens' air traffic control zone, sending large numbers of Hellenic air force aircraft to intercept them. According to the Greek Minister of Defense, N. Panagiotopoulos, the Greek Mirages "fell" on Turkish planes and gave them a “flying lesson”.
The first Turkish incursion would have taken place above the island of Akritos, then above Lemnos Lesvos and the island of Chios. In total, more than 20 Turkish aircraft were reportedly detected entering Greek airspace. But the Hellenic air force responded forcefully, dispatching 38 aircraft, Mirage 2000 and F16, to intercept the intruders, who quickly found themselves "surrounded" and were forced to retreat, if the pilots' account is to be believed. Greek.
This muscular face-to-face comes just days after Athens' parliament voted overwhelmingly modernization of the rest of the F16 fleet and 2000-5 Mirages in service with the Hellenic Air Force. A budget of 530 million euros has been allocated for this purpose, which today represents, more or less, 80% of the annual investment available to the country's armed forces to modernize or acquire equipment. According to the Minister of Defense N. Panagiotopoulos, a significant part of this work concerning the modernization of the F16 will be carried out by the national industry, so as to be ready for possible international requests of the same order. Greece is, in fact, along with Israel and the Netherlands, one of the members of the consortium responsible for maintaining and building the F16s on a global scale.
If the hanging is obviously not perceived or presented in the same way in Turkey, which also claims part of the Aegean Islands transferred to Greece after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War, It Ankara is unlikely to stop there. Once the S-400 anti-aircraft system batteries are operational, this type of clash over the Aegean Sea will take place in the interception envelope of the Russian missile, posing an additional threat to the Hellenic aircraft. In this area, the use of SCALP missiles launched from Mirage 2000s, as well as MdCNs which are to equip IDF under discussion, will probably constitute the life insurance of the Hellenic pilots, knowing that in the event of engagement by a Sol-Air system, the response could be severe.
Still, this clash shows, once again, the tensions which reign today between Ankara and Athens, tensions which could, at any time, turn into armed conflict. Knowing that both Greece and Turkey are members of NATO, only the European Union, or an alliance of European countries, would be able to strengthen the Hellenic Defense, like what NATO is doing in the face of Russia in the Baltic States and Romania. Such a deployment, significant enough to be representative, but sufficiently limited not to be perceived as a direct threat by Ankara, would undoubtedly represent a first decisive step in the emergence of a real European defense, and in the message conveyed to the public opinion of the continent. In this field, countries like France, Germany, Belgium or Italy would be legitimate to deploy air forces, anti-air defenses and artillery and electronic warfare systems, so as to contain and deter any unfortunate initiative of President Erdogan. After many speeches, it's time to make the idea a reality, and to give it substance!