Fighter collision problem betwen Greece and Turkey resolved

That didn't happen this week. Leaders of the uneasy neighbors raced to head off a potential crisis after two military jets collided Tuesday near a Greek island - the scene of almost daily mock dogfights between the two countries' warplanes over contested airspace.

Senior diplomats and defense officials from the two nations started talking on the phone within an hour of the crash.

On Wednesday, analysts, politicians and the media lined up on both sides of the Aegean to voice approval for quick efforts to defuse tensions over the collision. Some ventured that recent years of economic cooperation and political bridge-building finally took the edge off of age-old animosity, the AP reports.

The Greek and Turkish F-16s collided near Karpathos, about 440 kilometers (270 miles) southeast of Athens. The Turkish pilot ejected safely and was picked up by a merchant ship, while the Greek airman is still missing despite a major rescue effort.

Athens maintains the Turkish jet was escorting a spy plane, violated international flight rules, and provoked the crash through reckless flying.

That account was flatly denied in Ankara, where officials repeated accusations that Greece had imposed unilateral airspace limits,  but there was a common sense of relief that tension had quickly been defused.

Seyfi Tashan, director of the Foreign Policy Institute at Bilkent University in Ankara, added: "It's ridiculous to have such incidents occurring from time to time ... both sides should show adequate statesmanship to resolve these problems."

In Greece, the conservative Eleftheros Typos newspaper praised "Tension in the air, calm on the ground," while one analyst suggested that recent mammoth trade deals between Greece and Turkey may also help sober policies prevail.