"They also had weapons uncovered as some of the cameras were able to tell. They had some of the weapons manned. We also have aerial data that they were arming all of these weapons."
Whitehall said Iran claimed the US-led flotilla – which also included a Danish frigate and a French destroyer – had breached its international territorial waters. The commander denied that assertion.
Responding to the Iranian Navy, US forces deployed helicopter gunships from the ‘USS George H.W. Bush’ to hover over the speedboats. One of the helicopters was threatened by Iran, according to Captain Will Pennington, the commanding officer of the ‘George H.W. Bush’, adding that it was “certainly unprofessional behavior.”
It comes less than three weeks after Iran's Revolutionary Guards said a US Navy ship changed course toward Iranian vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, accusing Washington of “unprofessional actions...(that) can have irreversible consequences.”
In January, a US destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they approached at high speed and apparently disregarded numerous requests to slow down.
Add to this the perennial tension between Turkey and Greece and the problem of Cyprus to get the whole picture. According to Bloomberg, «All in all, Turkey appears to have more disputes than friendships with its NATO allies. And its engagement with the alliance itself, which it joined in 1952, isn't particularly strong».
The NATO annual report for 2016 says Turkey only took part in four of the 18 key NATO exercises held last year. Despite having the fourth-strongest military in the bloc (after the US, France and the UK but ahead of Germany) and the second-highest number of military personnel (after the US), its involvement in NATO's deployments is small, amounting to just 4 percent of the personnel in the mission to train the Afghan security forces, and 7 percent of the Kosovo force.
Turkey is developing military cooperation with Russia. This January, Russian and Turkish air forces launched a joint operation against Islamic State (IS) militants holding the town of al-Bab northeast of Aleppo. The parties have agreed to form a joint military and intelligence mechanism to coordinate their activities in the Middle East. If peace efforts to stop hostilities in Syria succeed, Russia and Turley lead the crisis management process. It could be a start on the way to forming a broader alliance against global terrorism.
Russia and Turkey have been getting increasingly close recently, especially after the two countries brokered a Syria truce in late December to join together in the Astana process. Turkey is in talks with Russia on purchasing the advanced long-range S-400 air defense systems to protect its skies. This issue was on the agenda during the President Erdogan’s visit to Moscow on March 9-10, 2017. Ankara also seeks procurement deals in electronic systems, ammunitions and missile technology.