Greek Air Force claims that the Presidential aircraft carrying Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Marmaris to Istanbul on coup night was at no point harassed by rebels’ F-16 fighter jets or any other aircraft.
High-ranking sources from the Greece’s Air Force General Staff told private Skai TV, that Greek radars were monitoring the flight of the presidential aircraft until the moment it landed in Istanbul and that monitoring data showed that the business jet of Recep Tayyip Erdogan “was neither accompanied by Turkish F-16 nor harassed by any other aircraft. “
Turkish media and military sources had claimed that his plane was targeted by rebels’ military air craft and that Erdogan escaping death was “a matter of just a couple of minutes.”
Turkish military sources had claimed towards Turkish and international media that at the height of the attempt to overthrow Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the rebel pilots of two F-16 fighter jets had Erdogan’s plane in their sights. And yet he was able to fly on.
“At least two F-16s harassed Erdogan’s plane while it was in the air and en route to Istanbul. They locked their radars on his plane and on two other F-16s protecting him,” a former military officer with knowledge of the events told Reuters. “Why they didn’t fire is a mystery,” he said.
A senior Turkish official confirmed to Reuters that Erdogan’s business jet had been harassed while flying from the airport that serves Marmaris by two F-16s commandeered by the coup plotters but that he had managed to reach Istanbul safely.
A second senior official also said the presidential jet had been “in trouble in the air” but gave no details.
The sources indicated that Erdogan escaping death was “a matter of just a couple of minutes.”
Flight tracker websites showed a Gulfstream IV aircraft, a type of business jet owned by the Turkish government, take off from Dalaman airport, which is about an hour and a quarter’s drive from Marmaris, at about 2240 GMT on Friday.
It later circled in what appeared to be a holding pattern just south of Istanbul – in fact south of Bursa – for about 30-45 minutes before landing in Istanbul airport.
International website The Aviationist.com, reports of Erdogan’s plane and the F-16 incident based on information gathered by a Turkish defense journalist.
Allegedly the president’s pilots switched their radio transponder to match that of a Turkish Airlines passenger jet allowing the jet to blend in with civilian traffic, mislead the rebel pilots and save the president’s life.
“Coup F-16s searched for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plane, TC-ATA around Istanbul to shoot it down. According to some media reports rebel TuAF F-16s had the plane in their sights: it’s unclear whether they had a real lock-on, rather that they probably were searching the sky for the Gulfstream IV.
Furthermore, TC-ATA used a callsign THY 8456 to disguise as a Turkish Airlines airplane (Turkish’s callsign is THY) and the risk of shooting down another plane, and losing credibility too, could be a factor affecting the coup’s F-16s to shot down his plane and kill Erdogan.
TC-ATA was flying from Dalaman to Istanbul Ataturk, which was raided by coup supporters. ATC was taken over, all lights off. Shortly before TC-ATA’s landing, it was taken from rebels.”
— David Cenciotti (@cencio4) July 15, 2016
Turkish Government Gulfstream has left the holding pattern and is now heading to Istanbul IST pic.twitter.com/sCCZsdalLT
— David Cenciotti (@cencio4) July 16, 2016
PS difficult to fly in the darkness….