The Greek government vowed to defend its sovereign rights following an incident early on Tuesday when a Turkish coast guard vessel rammed a Greek ship near the Aegean islets of Imia.
“The Greek government has repeatedly said that it will resolutely defend the sovereign rights of the country,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said.
There are no reports of injuries to the crew of either boat. The Greek vessel Gavdos suffered serious damage and is currently undergoing repairs.
Greek defense sources say the Gavdos was stationary near Imia, when the Turkish vessel rammed into it.
A government source speaking to Proto Thema newspaper claimed that the incident was a “calculated attempt by the Turks to sink the Greek ship. It was not a simple harassment or a hindrance.”
In an interview with Alpha 989 radio station, Tzanakopoulos said that Athens had recently noted an “intensifying Turkish provocativeness that gravely concerns us”.
“We have to be very careful and monitor the situation and developments,” the government spokesman underlined.
Asked whether the government is concerned over the possibility of a serious incident in the Aegean, he said that the state is closely monitoring the situation but suggested caution, calm and seriousness.
The islets, close to the Turkish coast, have been the scene of repeated incidents between Turkish and Greek forces, alarming NATO partners, the US and almost led to a war in 1996.