Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jacques Barrot: Frontex Does Not Breach Turkish Air Space

Naftemporiki reports: European Commissioner Jacques Barrot stated that Frontex aircraft have never breached Turkish air space in response to a question by MEPs of the Greek New Democracy party.

The question by the MEPs was prompted due to an incident where a Frontex helicopter flying in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) was harassed by a Turkish ground station.

During their question the MEPs also denounced the usual Turkish practice of violating Greek air space and called on the Commission to take a position on the incident mentioned.

Mr. Barrot stated that Frontex assets have never received threats from Turkish authorities. As for the specific incident in question he clarified that Turkish Air Traffic Control tried to communicate with the Frontex helicopter with the purpose of identifying it but the communication was impossible as a different frequency was used.

One of the Greek MEPs later stated that the answer of Mr. Barrot leaves no room for Turkey to make any disputes and that Greece’s borders are non-negotiable and internationally recognised.

Hellenic Defence News note: If, as Mr. Barrot states, Turkish Air Traffic Control did not manage to communicate with the Frontex helicopter how does he know that the purpose of the communication was to identify the helicopter and not threaten it with interception as reported in Greece? The communication was either picked up by the helicopter or it was not. Also, what gives Turkish Air Traffic Control the right to make aircraft identify themselves when out of the Turkish area of responsibility?

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