Greek state broadcaster ERT reported the incident on Thursday. In response, the Greek Ministry of Defense spoke shame of the Turks’ actions. Minister Nikos Dendias’s plane was forced to circle over the Iraqi city of Mosul for 20 minutes.
The Turkish government contradicted the report. According to Ankara, there was no malicious intent to stop the device. The crew had failed to notify Turkish air traffic control of the flight plan, the statement said.
The incident comes at a time when tensions between Turkey and Greece are quickly rising again. Last month, neighboring countries were close to war over both claims to gas supplies in the Mediterranean.
Partly under pressure from the European Union and NATO, the parties got back into conversation, but that de-escalation came to an end when Turkey again sent the research vessel Oruç Reis into the Mediterranean Sea last weekend, to a location right off the controversial Greek island. Kastellorizo. Greece saw this as a confirmation that the Turkish government cannot be trusted.
France and Germany warned Turkey on Thursday to end its “provocations” in the Eastern Mediterranean. If not, the European Union will impose sanctions on Turkey in December, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said after consulting his German and Polish colleagues. At the EU summit in early October it was decided not to impose sanctions for the time being, because Ankara and Athens had just started talking again.
According to German minister Heiko Maas, Greece’s European allies will spend another week watching Turkey’s stance in the conflict. If there is no improvement, “then the European Union will have to answer the question of how to deal with this and what consequences it will have”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in turn, has warned Greece and Cyprus that Turkey will give them “the answer they deserve”. Ankara is also arguing with Cyprus about maritime rights in the Mediterranean. Erdogan gave his shot ahead of a meeting of parliamentarians from his AK party. According to the Turkish president, the Greeks have not kept the promises they made during negotiations under the auspices of NATO and the EU.