Tuesday, 3 September 2013

BREAKING: British Typhoons in near clash with Turkish jets over Cyprus

British and Turkish fighter planes nearly clashed over the skies of Cyprus yesterday after two Typhoon Eurofighters scrambled from Akrotiri airbase.

Details remain unclear, but informed sources said the Typhoons, which are part of a total of six aircraft sent to the RAF Akrotiri airbase for possible actions against Syria, flew over the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus to intercept unidentified planes.

According to reports, Turkey sent two F-16 fighters to intercept the British planes claiming they violated the airspace over the occupied part of Cyprus.

A statement from the British Bases authorities said that "The UK Ministry of Defence can confirm that jets were launched from Akrotiri to investigate. These aircraft were found to be flying legally in international airspace and no intercept required."

Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou also confirmed that the incident took place, with informed sources saying that the government requested an explanation from British authorities.

They said the Typhoons took off after radars detected suspicious flights in the area of the occupied city of Famagusta.

A a squadron of F-16 fighter jets have been based at at Turkish airstrip in northern Cyprus since 2011, however it is understood the Turkish jets took off from Incirlik air base in Turkey, in order to intercept the British planes.

Turkish Cypriot media reports that the British planes had returned to Akrotiri by time the Turkish jets arrived in northern Cyprus airspace.

The incident comes at a moment of heightened tension in the region. On Sunday, Britain said they would keep six RAF Typhoon jets in the Mediterranean in case Syrian president Bashar al-Assad retaliates against any American-led attack.

A Royal Navy cruise missile-carrying submarine, which was due to take part in any forthcoming operation, is also likely to remain for now.  — Copyright © Famagusta Gazette 2013

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