BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:15 A.M.) – Turkey announced on Thursday that it had “suspended the passage of the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias’ plane, last night, through its airspace, after the Turkish aviation authorities were late in allowing it to cross from Iraq,” noting that this was not intentional.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said, in a statement in response to what was reported by the Greek media on this subject:
“The allegations about intentionally keeping a plane with the Greek Foreign Minister in the air are unfounded,” stressing that “the Greek Foreign Minister’s plane took off from Iraq without presenting a flight plan. ”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry added that “the Greek minister’s plane completed its flight safely after the Iraqi authorities submitted the flight plan,” noting that “it is not possible for any plane to conduct its flight in our airspace without prior permission, and in this incident providing the safety of the Greek Foreign Minister is necessary.”
Greek media reported that “the Turkish Air Force intercepted the plane of the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias over the Turkish-Iraqi airspace, specifically in the airspace of Mosul, after refusing the flight permit provided by Greece.”
The Greek ERT channel reported that the Turkish authorities had intercepted the plane of the Greek Foreign Minister and kept it in the airspace for about 20 minutes. The channel said, “This act goes beyond the concept of good neighborliness and violates the rules of diplomatic conduct.”
Relations between Greece and Turkey has been troubled by several disputes, ranging from the right of every state in the areas of the Mediterranean and even the dispute over Cyprus, ethnically divided between the two countries.