Greek PM Takes to Twitter to Slam Turkey Over Downed Russian Jet

1130 Tsipras Davutoglu
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, left, and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu attend a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, November 18. Tsipras criticized Davutoglu on Twitter over the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish fighter planes. Umit Bektas/Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took to Twitter on Sunday to launch an attack on his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu over the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish forces.

AP reported that Tsipras posted four tweets addressed to Davutoglu to his official English-language account. Both men attended a Brussels summit on Sunday at which Turkey agreed to stem the flow of refugees into Europe in return for 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in aid from the European Union (E.U.), as well as potential visa liberalizations and renewed talks on Turkey's accession to the E.U.

The tweets have since been deleted from Tsipras' English account but remain on his official Greek account. AP reported that Tsipras did not clarify whether the tweets referred to a conversation between the two or were written specifically for Twitter. The first tweet referred to the incident on November 24, when Turkish F-16 jets reportedly shot down a Russian fighter jet that Turkey accused of violating its airspace.

A Twitter user called The Greek Analyst collated the tweets before they were deleted from Tsipras' account:

Tsipras showing off his twitter "diplomacy" skills. #Greece #EUTurkey

— The Greek Analyst (@GreekAnalyst) November 29, 2015

The second and third tweets referred to incursions of Turkish jets into Greek airspace—which Turkey denies—and frequent incidents between Greek and Turkish pilots, AP reported. The fourth tweet referred to how, despite their advanced aerial weapons systems, Greece and Turkey remain unable to stop people traffickers from bringing masses of refugees into Europe.

Davutoglu responded on Twitter with a measured reply:

Comments on pilots by @atsipras seem hardly in tune with the spirit of the day. Alexis: let us focus on our positive agenda.

— Ahmet Davutoğlu (@Ahmet_Davutoglu) November 29, 2015

The shooting down of the Russian jet remains a sensitive subject between Turkey and Russia. Moscow has rejected Turkey's version of events, with one of the two pilots on board the Russian Su-24 saying that the jet remained in Syrian airspace throughout its entire mission. The body of the second pilot—who was killed after the jet was shot down—is currently in the process of being repatriated. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also signed a decree slapping economic sanctions on Turkey and Turkish companies in Russia

Greece and Turkey have endured frosty relations in the past, particularly relating to Cyprus, which is practically partitioned into Greek and Turkish Cypriot regions separated by a United Nations buffer zone. Turkish forces invaded and occupied northern Cyprus in 1974 in response to a Greek military coup. In 1983, the Turkish area declared itself independent as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.