Turkey denies deliberately holding Greece minister's plane in air

Andrew Cummings
October 16, 2020

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades "will submit the latest Turkish provocations" to fellow European Union leaders, Petsas said, adding: "Sanctions are still on the table".

Turkey redeployed its search vessel, Oruc Reis, near the Greek island of Kastellorizo, reigniting tensions between Greece and Turkey over sea boundaries and energy drilling rights, and putting the future of the planned resumption of talks between Athens and Ankara to resolve disputes into doubt.

Yesterday Germany and the United States urged Ankara to interrupt the ship's activities, considered illegal because they violate the exclusive economic zone of Greece and Cyprus.

Erdogan also mentioned the recent opening of beachfront in a contested area of Cyprus in the area of Varosha in southern Famagusta.

Turkey said on Wednesday it was restarting operations of a survey ship that it withdrew last month.

Given Berlin's efforts to mediate between the parties "the behavior by Turkey to conduct another provocation, resulting in the already agreed process of dialogue not taking place, is more than annoying, including for us in our role as intermediary", Maas said.

According to the Greek newspaper, the Turkish leader did not give any detail on what the alleged promises may have been but criticised the Greek government for recent military exercises in the Aegean sea that coincided with a Turkish holiday.

"We must wait to see if there is progress in a week and then we'll see what attitude needs to be adopted by the EU", Maas said when asked about the possibility of the bloc slapping economic sanctions on Ankara.

He warned that plans that disregard the interests of Turkey and the breakaway northern Cyprus would not succeed.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry denied any deliberate move to hold up the plane before entering the Turkish airspace, insisting the plane hadn't provided the required flight plan.

In a statement this week, Turkey's foreign ministry said the activity range was "fully within Turkish continental shelf".

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy dismissed the suggestion that the plane carrying Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had been deliberately held up as a provocation to Athens.

Aksoy suggested that the plane in question had taken off from Iraq without submitting a flight plan, explaining that flight plans are reported via the Eurocontrol system.

Other reports by iNewsToday