The Chairman of the Greek Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, and his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, spoke by telephone after the death of Greek Air Force captain Yorgos Baltadoros and just three days before Ankara claimed to have removed a Greek flag from the Greek island of Mikros Anthropofas, but the contact was only revealed yesterday.

Military sources indicated that Akar offered his condolences for the death of Baltadoros, who died when his Mirage 2000-5 crashed into the Aegean on 12 April, after a mission to intercept Turkish fighter jets.

Apostolakis said that lives should not be lost in the Aegean in time of peace, but Akar reportedly did not respond.

The contact indicates that the lines of communication between the two countries’ military chiefs remain open in moments of crisis, which could prove crucial in averting an unwanted military clash.

In a prior conversation between the two chiefs, the case of the two Greek army officers who were captured in the beginning of March at the Evros border region and who remain in a Turkish prison, without charges having been filed against them, was discussed.

Akar reportedly said he would do whatever he can to secure their return to Greece as soon as possible.