The Turkish Ministry of Defense accused 4 Greek fighters of provoking a Turkish research ship in international waters in the Aegean Sea, and said that it responded in accordance with the law, and promised to respond to any similar operations.

Al-Jazeera correspondent quoted sources in the Turkish Ministry of Defense that 4 Greek fighters provoked a Turkish research ship in international waters in the Aegean Sea, and fired a thousand meters high thermal balloons two miles from the ship.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the provocation carried out by Greek fighters against a Turkish research ship yesterday, Monday, is one of a series of harassments that are frequently carried out by Greece, and that his country responded to this operation according to the established rules.

Akar pointed out that the work carried out by the Turkish ship is a purely hydrographic study related to earthquakes, a work that the Greeks had done before, considering that the provocation while carrying out research and scientific work is not befitting of good neighborly relations.

The Turkish Defense Minister stressed that his country's position, decisions, and steps it will take regarding these harassment are clear, and that no one should be suspicious or concerned about it.

Regarding the Turkish army’s "Blue Nation 2021" naval exercises scheduled for the day after tomorrow, Thursday, in the Aegean and Mediterranean, Akar said that these exercises are planned by the Naval Forces Command, and various Turkish forces will participate in them, with the participation of attack helicopters and F-16 fighters F-16) and F-4.

The harassment of the Turkish ship by Greek fighters comes two days after Turkish military sources announced that Greece has practiced many activities to escalate tension, ranging from maneuvers to submarine missions, since the start of the consultative talks between the two countries on January 25.

Turkey says that the ship will carry out its duties until next March 2 within the framework of its annual program of hydrographic research, but Greece said a few days ago that this research is "an act that does not facilitate the improvement of relations between the two countries."