Defense Minister Panos Kammenos has confirmed that Ankara’s refusal to allow the plane carrying Greece’s prime minister to fly over Turkey when Alexis Tsipras visited Iran earlier this month forced Athens to find an alternative route.
Speaking on Star TV late on Monday, Kammenos confirmed Kathimerini’s report that Ankara refused permission because the flight plan included a stop on Rhodes for refueling.
Turkey considers the prime ministerial jet a military aircraft and Rhodes to be part of a demilitarized zone in the Aegean.
Turkey would only allow the plane to fly through its air space if it stopped at Bodrum for fuel. In the end, the Greek plane refueled in Egypt, before flying to Iran via Saudi Arabia.
New Democracy and PASOK criticized the government for not choosing to land on Rhodes.
On Tuesday, 21 Turkish air force planes and helicopters breached Greek air space in the northeastern and southeastern Aegean.