Greek PM says Turkish jets harassed his helicopter

This handout photo taken and released on June 12, 2018 by the Greek prime minister press office, shows Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras addressing the nation at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, on June 12, 2018. Skopje and Athens resolved on June 12, 2018 a longstanding row after Macedonia Prime Minister agreeing to rename his country the Republic of North Macedonia, ending a 27-year dispute. / AFP PHOTO

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday accused Turkey of harassing his helicopter during a trip to an island for an independence day celebration.

The story broke in major international media outlets after Tsipras said his helicopter was forced into “low maneuvers” on Monday when Turkish jets entered Greek airspace.

The prime minister accused Turkey of “foolish actions that have no meaning,” adding, “The Greek military intercepted the forces that violated the national airspace.”

Tsipras was delivering a speech on the small eastern Aegean island of Agathonisi, located close to the Turkish mainland, to mark independence day, BBC reported. The national holiday celebrates Greece’s uprising against the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1821.

“I had the honor of welcoming you here in Agathonisi, and some fighter aircraft of the Turkish air force, perhaps for the day, wanted to participate in the celebration,” the prime minister said.

“What do they think they are doing?”

Tsipras said he was committed to cooperation with Turkey but that Greece would always protect its national integrity.

The Turkish government has not yet reacted to the accusation. Relations between the two countries have been strained for decades over territorial disputes in the Aegean.

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