'US to hand fighter helicopters to Turkish army'

According to 'Hurriyet' 3 Super Cobra helicopters to be given, US envoy to Turkey says; 'helicopters to replace ones lost during PKK campaign.'

Apache helicopter 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Apache helicopter 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said on Friday that the US will give three Super Cobra helicopters to Turkey, according to a report by daily Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, quoting TGRT news channel.
According to the report, Turkey had been asking for Super Cobras to replace the helicopters it lost during its campaign against the Kurdish group the PKK.
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The apparent deal came as Turkish General Staff denied news reports circulating Friday that Israel had "harassed" Turkish gas exploration vessels with low-flying air-craft Thursday night, according to a general staff statement, cited by Turkish Today's Zaman.
The Turkish statement said that the reports "do not reflect the truth," Today's Zaman said.
According to Turkish media reports, Low-flying Israeli warplanes and helicopters "harassed" a Turkish ship exploring for natural gas reserves near Cyprus on Thursday night.
Today's Zaman, citing accounts in Turkish daily Vatan and Greek Cypriot daily Phileleftheros, reported that two F-15 jets took off from Tel Aviv and flew through the airspace of both Greek Cyprus and Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus. The jets reportedly ignored warnings from officials of Turkish Cyprus.According to the report, Turkey sent two F-16 jets to track the Israeli F-15s, which subsequently returned to Israel.
The report added that an Israeli military helicopter flew over the Turkish seismic research ship the Piri Reis, exploring for gas off of Cyprus's southern coast.
Turkey said on Tuesday it was exploring for gas in an offshore zone where Cyprus started drilling last week, a step that could escalate a dispute over Mediterranean resources.