QA:24, 2 September 2009, Statement of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey in Response to a Question

Question: Some news articles that have been published in today’s Greek press have referred to Greek authorities’ claim that on 31 August 2009 Turkish military aircraft harassed an Olympic Airways civilian aircraft by coming into very close proximity with it. What are your views on this matter?

Answer: Our relevant authorities have looked into the matter and determined that this accusation, which was evidently leaked to the press on purpose, does not reflect the truth.

In fact, on 31 August 2009 at around 11:00 hours, Turkish military aircraft performing a routine training mission in the international airspace over the Aegean Sea were intercepted and harassed by Greek military aircraft. Radar records and logs demonstrate beyond any doubt that the closest distance at any given time between the Turkish F-16 aircraft and the said civilian aircraft was no less than 5 kilometers.

Greece alleged that Turkish military aircraft had endangered a civilian aircraft in the past as well. Again, at that time, even the Greek press had reported that this accusation was later proven to be unfounded. The timing of such exaggerated allegation raises question marks and is not compatible with our common will to improve the good-neighbourly relations between our two countries.