Latest incident off Imia islets involves 'bump' between Greek, Turkish vessels; Erdogan saber-rattling

Tuesday, 13 February 2018 10:39

Another Turkish provocation was reported by Athens on Tuesday morning, with the former charging that a Turkish patrol boat bump a Greek coast guard vessel at roughly midnight the previous evening near the Imia sea region in the eastern Aegean.

The specific maritime region, which includes two rocky outcrops, the Imia islets, or what official Turkey has called "Kardak" since early 1996, has seen a spike recently in Turkish military activity.

Τhe Turkish vessel departed the area immediately after the incident, according to reports, while the Greek coast guard patrol boat arrived in Leros for minor repairs. No injuries were reported. 

The incident is the latest instance of Turkish aggressiveness in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, all in light of an ongoing Turkish military operation on foreign soil, northwest Syria.

Speaking to his ruling party's Parliamentary group on Monday, increasingly authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "no one should think that we're not aware of opportunistic initiatives in relation to rock islets in the Aegean, and exploration for natural gas off Cyprus."

"From here, let us warn whoever exceeds their bounds in Cyprus and the Aegean not to make a wrong calculation," Erdogan said.