An unspecified number of F-22 fighter jets flew over Cyprus on Wednesday, with Greek media suggesting that a detour over the north of the island caught Turkey off guard.
F-22 Raptor fighter jets from the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, which arrived in Souda Bay last week for an Agile Combat Employment exercise, flew a mission to Cyprus on Wednesday.
Greek media said the F-22 fighter jets took off from Crete, approached Cyprus from the south, and then took a detour over the Karpas peninsula in the northeast before heading back to base.
According to Greek Reporter, the foreign ministry of the Republic of Cyprus okayed the mission after Washington “secured a verbal note of permission to conduct the exercise through the US Embassy.”
It was not clear whether Turkey, which disputes parts of Nicosia’s flight information region, had given consent for the flight over the north.
It was not clear whether Turkey had given consent for the flight over the north but according to Greek media, Ankara was furious over the mission and requested that the exercise be canceled
But according to Greek media, Ankara was furious over the exercise and requested that it be canceled.
American air shielding exercises have been taking place with various NATO countries, involving the tactical fighter as well as other jets.
A separate international exercise dubbed Nemesis is also being organized in Cyprus next week.
The Raptors carried out the flight as Greeks and Greek Cypriots prepare on Friday to commemorate Ohi Day, a historic day when Athens rejected an Italian ultimatum on 28 October 1940.
A day later, on Saturday, Ankara celebrates its own Independence Day, commemorating the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923.
Greece and Turkey have been accusing each other of escalating tensions in the region, with Athens seeking support from international partners and Ankara saying it would do whatever necessary to protect its rights and interests.