A Turkish Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, flew over Kinaros on Wednesday, a Greek islet whose only inhabitant is Irene Katsotourchi.
It is unclear what kind of military intelligence the Turkish drone had tried to get by flying over a deserted islet where Katsotourchi popularly known as “Kyra Rini” (“Mrs. Rini”) has lived alone for years.
According to the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), the incident occurred at 12:29 p.m. with the UAV flying at a height of nineteen thousand feet.
The UAV entered Athens FIR without submitting a flight plan and violated Greek airspace, GEETHA said. The drone was identified and intercepted by Greek fighter planes in accordance with international rules of engagement.
Kinaros is part of the Dodecanese in the Eastern Aegean and is located west of Kalymnos and Leros and east of Amorgos.
President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, paid her respects to Kyra Rini on Christmas 2020 by visiting the island.
Kyra Rini has lived on the Greek islet of Kinaros since 2013
Irene Katsotourchi has lived alone on the remote islet since 2013, when her husband passed away. He had been the only other resident of Kinaros for some years.
She was born on Amorgos and grew up on Kinaros. When she got married, she lived with her family on Kalymnos, but then the couple migrated to Australia.
When they returned, they decided to settle permanently on Kinaros. However, it wasn’t long before her husband passed away; ever since, she has lived alone on the remote islet.
Life is not easy on Kinaros for a single, elderly woman. Her only contact with the outside world during the winter months is the weekly arrival of the boat from Amorgos, bringing essential supplies to her.
“Sole guardian” of the Greek islet
In the past, Kyra Rini has expressed her fear of Turkey taking over Kinaros. Given Ankara’s unsubstantiated claims in the southeast Aegean and continuous violations of Greek territorial waters and airspace, her worry is not unfounded.
In fact, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously claimed that Kinaros was a place of worship.
In the past few years, Kyra Rini has had her fair share of hearing and seeing Turkish fighter jets flying over her home.
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