NEWS

Turks buzz passenger aircraft

Turkish jet fighters harassed a small Greek passenger plane within Greece’s airspace on Thursday evening, Athens confirmed yesterday, describing the incident as «an unacceptable act.» Speaking to journalists after a meeting in Athens with the chairman of NATO’s military committee, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said the two Turkish F-16 fighters were chased off by Greek interceptors. «[The incident], unfortunately, is true. It is part of a Turkish policy that has become more intense during recent months,» he said, offering no further details. According to a report in yesterday’s To Vima daily, a private Hellenic Star Airways turboprop carrying 36 passengers from the eastern Aegean island of Chios to Athens was approached over the central Aegean by the Turkish jets, which proceeded to fly close to it on either side, inside the Athens Flight Information Region and, at one point, within Greek airspace. «It was an unacceptable act during a particularly sensitive period,» government spokesman Christos Protopappas said yesterday, adding that the Foreign Ministry has issued a demarche.