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15 July, 1998
Athens stressed yesterday that recent press reports in two Turkish newspapers, claiming that a Turkish air force exercise against mock S-300 targets occurred on Israeli soil, apparently did not reflect reality.
According to the Turkish dailies "Hurriyet" and "Milliyet", Turkish air force personnel trained at a base in Israel to practice air strikes against Cyprus in the event that Nicosia proceeds with plans to deploy Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles.
Asked to comment on the reports, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas cited a press release from the Israeli embassy in Athens on Monday, categorically denying the content of the press reports as well as a similar statement by an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.
Mr. Reppas said although Turkey and Israel were indeed conducting joint military exercises, what was of interest to Athens was whether these exercises were aimed against Greece or Cyprus.
He reiterated that Nicosia had every right to bolster its defenses, particularly in view of what he called Turkey's provocative and aggressive behavior.
Source: Athens News Agency