Greek & Turkish F-16 Jets In Near 'Dogfight' Off Cyprus; Viral Video Shows Radar Lock

Turkey's Air Force F-16s have confronted Greek fighter jets over the eastern Mediterranean in what is perhaps the closest the two sides have come to an incident sparking war.

Military statements from both sides are revealing details of the incident which happened Thursday off the southwestern coast of Cyprus, and involved what The Times (UK) described as a mock "dog fight" in which the Greek fighters even called for more aerial reinforcements.

File image via Ekathimerini

"Turkish and Greek fighter jets have engaged in a mock dogfight over the eastern Mediterranean, the second direct confrontation between the two Nato powers this month," The Times writes. "Ankara sent F-16s to intercept six Greek jets as they returned from Cyprus — where they had been participating in war games — to their base in Crete."

Subsequent Turkish cockpit video allegedly from the encounter appears to show that during the intercept a Turkish F-16 achieved radar lock on a Greek fighter, but did not fire.

Viral radar video published by Turkey's Ministry of Defense on Friday shows the risky jet intercept. It garnered over a million views merely within the first few hours of release, showing how hot tensions are running among each side's population:

Bloomberg also confirmed the dangerous incident as the two sides are increasingly backing their maritime claims with military power: "Turkish F-16s blocked six Greek jets from flying over a maritime area designated as off limits by Turkish navtex, or navigational telex, according to a statement by Turkey’s Defense Ministry."

This week the UAE also jumped in, as France and Italy have already joined Cyprus and Greece in joint war games, at a time Turkey is also about to hold its own 'live fire' exercises in the area. 

At least four UAE fighter jets have been reported dispatched to Crete to hold joint operations with the Hellenic Air Force.

Recall that the allies are also standing against Turkey inside Libya, where Turkey's military has propped up the Tripoli government, but alternately the UAE has firmly backed rival Gen. Khalifa Haftar.