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U.S. Urges Turkey To Show Restraint

October 22, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Clinton administration has expressed concern to Turkish officials over reports that Turkish fighter jets buzzed the plane of the Greek defense minister as he was returning from military exercises on Cyprus.

``We have made clear to our Turkish allies the seriousness with which we view the information we have received and the need to ensure that any future Turkish activities do not contribute to an atmosphere of tension between Turkey and its neighbors,″ State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said Wednesday.

He said the United States believes it is important that Turkey and Greece both ensure that a Turkish military exercise scheduled for early November does not trigger a new confrontation.

He reaffirmed the U.S. view that flights of combat aircraft over Cyprus be discontinued. He said the plane on which the Greek defense minister was flying was not a combat aircraft.

Rubin acknowledged he made a mistake Monday when he said the Turkish aircraft had overflown Cypriot territory.

The Greek defense ministry said two pairs of Turkish F-16s buzzed the plane carrying Defense Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos from Cyprus, as it flew about 80 miles southeast of the Aegean island of Rhodes. The planes were intercepted by eight Greek jetfighters, it said.

The Turkish government denied the charge.

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