The "Destined Glory-2000" Exercise No:193 - October 23, 2000

1. Exercise "Destined Glory-2000", a NATO southern region planned exercise, is currently being carried out in Doğanbey and Saros Bay in the Aegean Sea, Western Anatolia and Eastern Mediterranean between October 9-25, 2000. Besides Turkey, United States, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy and Spain are participating in the exercises.

Greece, while initially participating, yesterday (22 October) withdrew from the Exercise, citing some developments.

2. We deem necessary to clarify some aspects of the situation as it was observed that those developments have been reflected particularly in the Greek press and the relevant government circles in a misleading manner.

3. The withdrawal of Greece is a direct consequence of the disagreement between NATO and Greece: The Greek Air Force constantly violated NATO exercise plan and directives. Turkey, while informing NATO of those violations, requested that the necessary measures be taken. In this context, NATO called the Greek planes to comply with the plans and directives. However, upon the disregard by Greek aircraft of its plans, directives and warnings, NATO was compelled three times to cancel the entrance of those planes into the exercise area. Consequently, Greece decided to withdraw from the Exercise.

4. Therefore, Greece's endeavour to apportion the blame on Turkey for its withdrawal from the Exercise is misleading. Greece should look for the causes of the problem in its own violation of the plans and directives of NATO. All these points exist in the records of NATO.

5.The events have developed as outlined below:

- 6 F-16 planes belonging to the Greek Air Force reached Balıkesir on October 7, 2000.
During the first two days of the Exercise, Greek planes based at Balıkesir and those taking off from Greek territory joined the Exercise.

-Upon the attempt to route the Greek planes taking off from Greece over the demilitarized islands of Limni and Ahikarya (Ikarya) and the objection raised by Turkey against it, NATO Southern Europe Air Force Command declared the said routes void. Following these developments, Greece, while continuing to participate in the other activities of the Exercise, canceled its flights.

-As a result of considerable efforts on NATO's part, a plan calling for all parts of the Exercise to be performed under NATO command and in conformity with international agreements, as was initially envisaged, was put into effect on October 18, upon also Greece's consent.

-However, in the following days, aircraft taking off from Greece, despite warnings by the relevant NATO commander and apart from disregarding NATO plans and directives, also violated flight safety rules during their flights on October 21, 2000.Consequently, Turkish military authorities asked NATO that the necessary measures be taken. The NATO authorities served the necessary warnings to Greece and canceled Greek aircraft from entering the Exercise area on three occasions.

-Upon those developments, Greece announced yesterday (22 October) its withdrawal from the Exercise.

6. The Exercise is continuing with the participation of the other NATO countries.

7. The Eastern Aegean Islands are under demilitarized status according to international agreements. This is a well known fact. Any involvement of these islands in any kind of military activity, including NATO exercises, consists a violation of their demilitarized status. It is inconceivable for Turkey to allow such violations.

8. Turkey, which attaches importance to the process of dialogue, cooperation and rapprochement with Greece, continued to act in good faith during the Exercise. The display of the same constructive spirit by Greece will facilitate the development of our relations.