Video footage released on Sunday showed the build-up to a shipping incident in the Aegean Sea last week, when Greek and Turkish coast guard vessels collided.
The collision between a Turkish patrol boat and a smaller Greek speedboat occurred after the Turkish coast guard intercepted some Greek fishing boats near an uninhabited islet located between Greece’s Dodecanese islands and Turkey’s southwestern coast. The islet, known as Kardak in Turkish and Imia in Greek, was the focus of a military crisis and subsequent dispute over sovereignty between Greece and Turkey in 1996.
One of the videos, posted on YouTube by Greek weekly Proto Thema, showed a Turkish coast guard vessel veering closely around two Greek fishing boats before idling nearby.
A second video showed speedboats of the Turkish and Greek coast guards circling around as sailors from the bigger Turkish patrol boat prepared machine guns for possible firing before sailing away.
The Turkish coast guard said two Greek fishing boats entered Turkish territorial waters near Kardak, before they were pushed back by four of its boats.
“Greek vessels, which know no borders and are constantly pushing irregular migrants back into Turkish territorial waters in violation of international law, this time, were expelled from Turkish territorial waters,” it said, according to Greek City Times.
Greek media reported conflicting numbers for the fishing boats involved in the incident. They varied between two and five.
Dimitris Diakomichalis, mayor of the Greek island of Kalymanos, where the fishermen originated from, argued that the Turkish coast guard “invaded Greek territorial waters”, the Greek City Times reported. He called on the Greek authorities to “have a permanent presence to avoid an incident”.