Greece opens fire on Turkey as military helicopter buzzes island
GREEK soldiers have fired on a Turkish helicopter in the Aegean sea amid growing tensions in the region.
By CHLOE KERR
Soldiers fired tracer rounds towards the helicopter as it approached the island of Ro late on Monday night.
After the shots – described as warning shots – had been fired, the chopper left the area.
The Greek government accused Turkey of a provocative act after the aircraft approached with its navigation lights switched off.
Tensions between Athens and Ankara have been escalating for months.
The current escalation began when the Greek Supreme Court blocked the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers who Ankara claims were involved in the country’s coup.
Greece blocked the extradition saying they would not have a fair trial under President Erdogan.
Last summer the captain of a Turkish freight ship said the Greek coast guard had opened fire on his vessel after he refused an order to dock at a port in the Aegean Sea.
And last month two Greek soldiers were captured by Turkish military after they crossed the border.
Turkey accuses them of being spies, whereas Greece says the men simply got lost in fog and crossed the border by accident.
Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, has demanded the release of the soldiers.
He said: “In the past, we returned Turkish soldiers who crossed a few metres into Greece whilst on patrol. I expect the Turkish president to do the same.”
He added that the soldiers should not be “pawns to power games and blackmail.”