HALC MOURNS FALLEN CAPTAIN OF GREEK FIGHTER JET, CALLS ON TURKEY TO IMMEDIATELY CEASE ITS INFRINGEMENTS OF GREEK AIRSPACE
CHICAGO — The Hellenic American Leadership Council today sends its deepest condolences to the family of Hellenic Air Force Captain Giorgos Baltadoros, whose fighter jet crashed after a mission to intercept Turkish jets in the Aegean.
“Captain Baltadoros was a hero who put his life on the line for Greece,” said HALC Executive Director Endy Zemenides. “May his memory be eternal, and may his death inspire us all to continue to defend the country we all love against Turkey’s actions in the Aegean.”
In the last year, Turkey has dramatically escalated its violations of Greek airspace, its overflights in armed formations and its violations of Greece’s territorial waters. Thousands of times in the past year, Turkish military jets and vessels have deliberately disregarded international law and have engaged in provocative acts above even inhabited Greek islands. Greece, to its credit, has responded with restraint and in accordance with the international rules of engagement.
However, as U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt has said, one of his biggest concerns regarding Turkey’s increased aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean is an accident happening that would result in an unintentional conflict. The sheer number of near-daily Turkish violations that require a Greek military response greatly increases the chances of such a tragic accident occurring, and unfortunately, today such an accident occurred.
HALC calls on the U.S. government to immediately condemn Turkey’s policy of provocation in the Aegean, to publicly declare support for Greece’s sovereign rights, and to make any transfer of American arms conditional on ending such provocations.