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Turkey concerned about Saudi sending F-15s to Greek island of Crete 

January 9, 2021 at 11:49 am

US F-15 fighter jet on 16 August 2011 [DMITRY KOSTYUKOV/AFP/Getty Images]

Greek media reports about Riyadh’s intention to send F-15 aircraft to the Souda military base on the Greek island of Crete has raised concerns in Turkey, as reflected in the reactions of local media.

The Greek City Times reported the news of joint military exercises between Greece and Saudi Arabia in the near future. Thus, Haberler newspaper spoke about a “threat to Turkey” and indicated that the Saudi F-15 aircraft will be flown by Greek pilots.

On the other hand, Turkish newspaper Zaman only reported news of the manoeuvres and a plan to send Saudi fighter jets to Greece as part of military cooperation between Riyadh and Athens, in light of the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean and the alliances resulting from this in recent months.

Greece and Greek Cyprus have conducted several military manoeuvres since last summer in the Eastern Mediterranean “in cooperation with its allies against Turkey,” according to Zaman newspaper.

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Athens also concluded a 20-year military cooperation agreement with Tel Aviv, worth $1.68 billion. Zaman said that Greek media reports claimed that Saudi Arabia will send a number of F-15 fighters to the Souda base in Crete, as ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. This is due to Greece’s concerns over Turkey’s movements in the region, especially with the increasing tensions between the two countries in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece decided to ally with Saudi Arabia after engaging the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France, the US and Israel in the same alliance.

Zaman mentioned that the Saudi Kingdom has the third-largest fleet of F-15 aircraft worldwide, after the US and Japan.