The Greek government condemned the provocative act of Turkey, whose fighters were chasing a Greek helicopter with the Greek defense minister on board, AP reported.
Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Monday the incident on Sunday was another indication that “Turkey often exceeds the limits of both the rules of international law and of course the rules of good neighborliness.”
Greek officials said that Greek fighters intercepted two Turkish aircraft during a Sunday incident. Local media reported that Turkish aircraft continued to fly over the Greek island of Oinus during a visit by Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos and the chief of the National Defense General Staff, Gen. Konstantinos Floros.
“Such behavior by Turkey doesn’t help in defusing tension, which both sides should be seeking at this time,” Panagiotopoulos said Sunday. The Greek Foreign Ministry described the incident as “another unacceptable Turkish action” which confirms “the negative role Turkey is playing in the region, insisting on anachronistic perceptions of international relations.”
Turkey, for its part, accused Greece of trying to escalate tensions. “Our military aircraft performed the task as part of their normal activities in the Aegean Sea,” said Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy. “Our warplanes carried out the task of recognition within the framework of routine activities in the Aegean,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.
“Trying to escalate tensions by dramatizing routine flights is of no benefit to this country,” Aksoy said. “Instead, these issues should be addressed during the confidence-building process that was initiated by the two countries’ defense ministries.”