F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Turkish F-16s land in Greece

May 18, 2000 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Turkish fighter pilots saluted the commander of this Greek military airfield as they landed here Friday to join a NATO exercise that showed the remarkably improved relations between the longtime regional rivals.
The arrival of the dozen Turkish F-16s at the Nea Anchialos Air Base near the central port of Volos was the first time since 1972 that Turkish warplanes have landed in Greece. The planes are scheduled to begin NATO-directed exercises Saturday as part of Dynamic Mix, the alliance's annual maneuvers in the eastern Mediterranean. Military cargo planes have landed in both countries in recent years.

The arrival of the Turkish F-16s and three transport aircraft was strictly a military affair and lacked any ceremonial aspect.

Greek and Turkey have been at odds over many issues, including Aegean Sea territory and the divided island of Cyprus, and have nearly gone to war three times in the past 26 years. But a startling turnaround in relations began last year following devastating earthquakes in both nations. Outpourings of mutual aid and sympathy gave a huge boost to political efforts for rapprochement.