Greek PM Tsipras says Turkish jets “harassed” his helicopter


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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Turkish fighter jets “harassed” his helicopter as he travelled to Greek Independence Day celebrations.

Alexis Tsipras said his helicopter was forced into “low manoeuvres” on Monday when Turkish jets entered Greek airspace.

The PM accused Turkey of “foolish actions that have no meaning”.

Turkish security forces refuted the accusations, claiming the jets were carrying out a routine mission.

“The Greek military intercepted the forces that violated the national airspace,” Tsipras said in a speech on the small eastern Aegean island of Agathonisi, located close to the Turkish mainland, to mark independence day.

Talking about the incident, the PM also said the Turkish side “should know that these are foolish actions that are wholly pointless, they simply waste kerosene and petrol for no reason is the message that I want to send them.”

“Firstly, because we will always be there to defend our territorial integrity and, secondly, because the Greek prime minister will go to even the most remote island of our country, to the most remote and outlying corner, even if he has to swim there,” Tsipras added.

Tsipras said that he was committed to co-operation with Turkey but that Greece would always protect its national integrity.

Turkey has denied claims of harassment, with Anadolu news agency quoted the security forces as saying that the planes were “conducting their regular mission”.

Concluding, PM Tsipras said his message to all sides was that Greece was open to dialogue and understanding but also prepared, if necessary, to “do what we know how to do and what our ancestors have taught us to defend our rights and sovereignty.”

*Source: Reuters