Greece to protest harassment of PM’s helicopter


Greece’s foreign ministry is preparing to file a strongly-worded demarche with the Turkish embassy after Turkish fighter jets attempted on Monday to harass the helicopter transporting Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the eastern Aegean island of Agathonisi, according to a Greek broadcaster.

Tsipras was on his way to the small island to mark the anniversary of Greece’s 1821 uprising against Ottoman rule.

SKAI TV reported that foreign ministry sources said Athens wants to highlight the incident, especially after Ankara denied it happened.

State-run ANA-MPA news agency reported on Monday that Tsipras was in a Chinook helicopter, when two Turkish F-4 fighters approached, violating Greek airspace in the process.

The Chinook flew lower to avoid the Turkish fighters, which were intercepted by Greek F-16 jets.

Tsipras referred to the incident at Agathonisi. “Coming here, I was harassed by Turkish planes that forced the helicopter I was on to take evasive action and for what purpose?”

A Turkish security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was “no question” of any harassment attempt by Turkish jets, adding that the planes were carrying out “routine duties.”