The mounting tensions between Turkey and its Greek neighbours took an alarming turn on Tuesday when it was reported that Turkish fighter jets had harassed a helicopter carrying Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister.
The Chinook helicopter carrying Tsipras and the Greek Chief Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis was harassed as it flew from the islet of Ro to Rhodes on Tuesday afternoon, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.
The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 1,500 feet when a pair of Turkish fighter jets reportedly approached from 10,000 feet and asked the Greek pilot to provide flight details.
The pilot informed the Prime Minister and called the Greek air force, which dispatched two fighter jets. On their arrival, the Turkish jets retreated, reported Kathimerini.
“Speaking earlier from the southeastern Aegean island of Kastellorizo earlier in the day, Tsipras said Greece will defend its principles ‘in any way it can… and will not cede an inch of territory,’” according to Kathimerini.
Tsipras’s comments come amid a problematic period in Turkish-Greek relations, which has included talk by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last December of “revising” the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, which delineates the two country’s borders.