Greek coast guard fires warning shots at passenger ship
By Asli Kandemir (Bloomberg) Turkey said the Greek coastguard fired on a vessel in international waters in the northern Aegean Sea, marking a potential further escalation in tension between NATO countries on Saturday, as that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused his neighbor of “bullying”. ”
Two Greek boats opened fire on a ship flying the Comorian flag ( 93 meter passenger vessel) named Anatolian, state agency Anadolu reported, citing the Turkish Coast Guard. The vessel had 18 people and there were no injuries, Anadolu said.
The ship was not emitting a signal, according to an official from the Greek shipping ministry, so the Greek coast guard called for it to stop to be boarded. The captain refused control and sped up, prompting the Coast Guard to fire warning shots in the air and not at the vessel, the official said, requesting anonymity as details have not yet been released public.
The incident is a reminder that tensions continue to seep into the region. Ahead of next year’s election, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up his criticism of what Turkey calls a growing Greek military buildup on islands near its coastline as well as Western military support for Athens, with which Ankara has long-standing territorial disputes.
Speaking on Saturday night at the Thessaloniki International Fair in northern Greece, Mitsotakis addressed the general situation, saying Greece would not give in to threats.
Mitsotakis called on Turkey to stop its “unhistorical arguments” and said Greece is saying “no, Mr. Erdogan” to his country’s threats. “Bullying yok,” the prime minister said, using the Turkish word “yok” meaning the aggressive rhetoric must stop.
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Greece has repeatedly called on Turkey to stop questioning its sovereignty over the Dodecanese – a group of islands off the Turkish coast including Rhodes and Kos – which were ceded to Greece by Italy after the Second World War. World War. Turkey argues that Athens must abide by a 1947 peace treaty that allows only a small contingent of Greek soldiers on the Dodecanese.
By Asli Kandemir, With help from Sotiris Nikas. © 2022 Bloomberg L.P.