Photos released Wednesday reportedly depict Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as Turkish fighter jets attempted to harass the Chinook helicopter transporting him to the eastern Aegean island of Agathonisi Monday.
The images, which were posted on Militaire.gr website, were reportedly shot by the photographer accompanying the prime minister during his trip.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday handed Turkish Ambassador in Athens Burak Ozugergin a demarche in protest at the harassment.
The Turkish F-4 fighter jets, which violated Greek airspace, were intercepted by Greek fighters and never got very close, but the helicopter still had to take evasive action.
The Turkish fighters, flying at a height of 6,000 feet approached within 4 miles of Tsipras's helicopter, which was approaching Agathonisi at a height of 2,000 feet. The Chinook flew lower to avoid the Turkish fighters, which were intercepted by Greek F-16s.
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?”
“Greece is a force for peace and cooperation, this is the message I want to send to the neighbors, cooperation and growing together, not fake bravado which only waster kerosene. These stupid acts are meaningless. They should know the Prime Minister will reach even the most isolated [island] by swimming, if necessary. We have open arms, for dialogue and understanding, but, if necessary, we will do what our forefathers did,” Tsipras added, referring to the 198th anniversary of Greeks' taking up arms against the Ottoman occupiers to fight for independence.