Greek PM: Turkish fighter jets harassed helicopter
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Greek PM: Turkish fighter jets harassed helicopter

Red Cross personnel speak with nurses ahead of a military parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. The parade commemorates Greek Independence Day, which marks the start of the war of independence in 1821 against the 400-year Ottoman rule. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s prime minister says Turkish fighter jets harassed the helicopter he was travelling on during a visit to a remote Greek island to celebrate independence day.

Alexis Tsipras said he was “welcomed” by Turkish fighter jets violating Greek airspace during his arrival Monday on the small eastern Aegean island of Agathonissi.

The move forced the helicopter pilot to carry out low manoeuvrs until Greek fighter jets arrived to deflect the Turkish aircraft, Tsipras said.

Greece and Turkey have long had tense relations and are divided over several issues, including territorial disputes in the Aegean. Athens often complains Turkish fighter jets violate its airspace.

Tsipras stressed Greece is committed to dialogue and co-operation with Turkey, but that if necessary “we will do what our ancestors taught us, to defend our country.”

The Associated Press

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