Turkish premier Binali Yildirim spoke with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras by phone on Thursday, expressing condolences over the death of a Hellenic Air Force pilot earlier in the day.
State-run Anadolu Agency confirmed the two prime ministers spoke in the aftermath of Thursday’s fatal jet crash off the coast of Skyros in the Aegean Sea.
Earlier, Tsipras took to social media to write: “Today we lost a great Air Force pilot who died in the line of duty.
“Our pain is great. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues. On behalf of the Greek State, I express my deep gratitude and my sincere condolences.”
The Greek Ministry of Defense released the details of the pilot who was killed when his Mirage 2000-5 fighter jet crashed northeast of Skyros.
He was 34-year-old Giorgos Baltadoros, reportedly a father of three, who was born in the village of Morfovouni, near Karditsa in central Greece.
Earlier reports claimed Baltadoros’ Mirage and another Greek jet were returning to the air force base on Skyros after confronting Turkish planes which had violated Greek airspace.
Greece’s air force confirmed in a statement that at 12.15 p.m. local time (1015GMT) contact was lost with the Mirage about nine nautical miles northeast of the island.
Turkey’s armed forces have denied any of their jets were in the area.