EC detached on air space

The European Commission yesterday issued a statement noting that helicopters participating in an initiative by the European Union’s border-monitoring agency Frontex in the Aegean had «never violated Turkish air space» but also added that Frontex aircraft «had never received threats from Turkish authorities.» The statement, rather too balanced for the liking of Greek diplomats, came in response to a complaint lodged by Athens on Monday after two Frontex helicopters in the Aegean received warning signals via Turkish radar. The EC statement clarified that »the orders given to aircraft crew ensure that all patrols are carried out exclusively within Greek air space» with the sole aim of curbing illegal immigration. But it also expressed understanding for the Turkish radar controller, noting that «he had tried to establish contact with the [Frontex] helicopter pilot and had been unable to do so due to the use of different radar frequencies.»