Greek Boats Harassed Cargo Vessel In International Waters
Greek Coast Guard vessels reportedly opened fire unexpectedly on a cargo vessel sailing in the international waters of the Aegean Sea, the Coast Guard of Turkey mentioned. This incident escalated tensions among the regional rivals, who have recently mounted over the past few weeks.
The Turkish statement mentioned that no casualties in the shooting were reported at about 11 nm toward the southwest of the Island of Bozcaada on Saturday.
It further mentioned that following “harassment fire” from the two vessels that belonged to the Greek Coast Guard, two Turkish Coast Guard vessels visited the area, but the Greek boat left.
Calls to the Greek Embassy in Ankara reportedly were unanswered on Sunday, and it was not clear why the gunfire had to occur.
The neighbouring nations have been embroiled in disputes for decades, and the frictions have ratcheted up in recent weeks, with both sides reportedly alleging airspace violations.
Greek officials have raised concerns about another conflict outbreak in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Turkey reports that Greece is breaking international deals by maintaining a military presence on islands near Turkey’s Aegean coastline.
It has further accused Greece’s air defences of locking on to Turkey’s fighter jets during the NATO exercises in the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece mentioned that it needs to defend the eastern islands — including their tourist hotspots Kos and Rhodes, which are closer to Turkey than to the mainland of Greece — against the more powerful and militarily more substantial neighbouring nation.
A Saturday video shows a Greek Coast Guard vessel alongside the Comoros-flagged ship named the Anatolian. This was when the sound of nearly a dozen gunshots was heard. A Turkish crew member said that the Greek Coast Guard attacked them.
The video released by Turkey’s Coast Guard seems to have been shot on a cellphone. It reflects what seems like a bullet hole in a window and the ceiling of the bridge of the cargo ship.
The Turkish statement mentioned that the gunfire was “in disregard of the rules of international law.
The 18 crew members of the Anatolians comprised six Egyptians, five Azerbaijanis, four Somalis, and three Turks.
A Turkish prosecutor also ordered an inspection. The nation has protested to Greek authorities, with Ankara asking for a swift investigation followed by an explanation.
The Anatolian on Sunday was anchored in the Dardanelles Strait, based off the Turkish coast, the Anadolu news agency informed.
This week, the government of Greece wrote letters to NATO, the EU, and the UN, asking them to condemn the increasingly aggressive discussion by the Turkish officials. It also suggested that tensions could escalate into an open conflict.
Nikos Dendias, the Foreign Minister of Greece, mentioned that Turkey’s behaviour — also a NATO member — risked a similar situation to the one currently unfolding elsewhere in the continent, referring to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
References: Daily Sabah, Inshorts, Republic World