THESSALONIKI – A government jet carrying Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos back to Athens from Ankara where he had attended the inauguration ceremony of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was forced to conduct an emergency landing in Thessaloniki Aug. 29.
Kathimerini said the technical problem was a crack in the pilot’s windshield, forcing the plane to land at the international airport in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city in the north of the country.
TheForeign Ministry said the problem occurred at 37,000 feet. Venizelos had been flying from Turkey to Milan, where he is to attend a European Union Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
He is also the PASOK Socialist leader and Deputy Premier, serving his political rival, Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras in a coalition government.
During his visit to Ankara, Venizelos delivered to Erdogan a letter from Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades who was making an appeal to unify the island divided since an unlawful Turkish invasion 40 years ago.
Erdogan has said that Cyprus doesn’t exist and Turkey – which wants to join the European Union – won’t allow Cypriot ships and planes in Turkey even though Cyprus is a member of the EU.
Erdogan is expected to visit Cyprus on Sept. 1 in a visit that will be closely watched by both Athens and Nicosia to see if he will be belligerent about the state of the unification talks that, as have all others for decades, gone nowhere.