22052018Headline:

Turkish patrol boat rams Greek Coast Guard vessel near Imia islets

A Turkish patrol boat rammed into a Greek Coast Guard patrol boat with a crew of 27 in the early hours of Tuesday, just after midnight, near the Imia islets in the southeastern Aegean.

The Greek patrol boat was damaged by the impact but no injuries were reported.

The vessel has been transferred to Leros for repair.

“The Greek government has repeatedly said that it will resolutely defend the sovereign rights of the country,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said on Tuesday, commenting on the collision near the Imia islets.

In an interview with Alpha 989 radio station, Tzanakopoulos said that Athens had recently noted an “intensifying Turkish provocativeness that gravely concerns us.” He explained that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was up against a generalised tension in Turkey, as well as problems that were hard to manage and a generalised destabilisation around Turkey. Nevertheless, he added, Turkey’s behaviour was not conducive to overcoming these difficulties, but quite the opposite.

“Therefore, 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 government is closely monitoring the situation but suggested caution, calm and seriousness.