Turkish Coast Guard hassles EU border force

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“Very serious” incidents that violated international regulations reportedly took place on April 26 and 27 involving vessels of the Turkish Coast Guard and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex.

Kathimerini understands that the incidents occurred off the eastern Aegean island of Chios when Turkish Coast Guard vessels violated Greek territorial waters and made dangerous manoeuvres

very close to Finnish and a Swedish boats patrolling in the eastern Aegean under the umbrella of Frontex’s Poseidon operations.

Officials from both countries described the two incidents as “very serious” and briefed the head of Frontex, Fabrice Lazeri, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, and Migration Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

According to reliable sources, the first of the two events took place on the night of April 26, in the sea area off Chios when a Turkish Coast Guard vessel entered Greek territorial waters and was on a collision course with the Finnish ship.

Sources have told Kathimerini that the Turkish boat had its navigation lights turned off, while the Frontex vessel had its lights on and was almost motionless.

The second incident took place a few hours later in the same area. Specifically, on the morning of April 27, a Turkish Coast Guard vessel again entered Greek territorial waters and conducted threatening moves toward a Swedish Coast Guard patrol boat. The captain of the Swedish boat managed to manoeuvre it to avoid a possible collision.

Officers of the Hellenic Coast Guard who witnessed both these incidents immediately informed the Frontex leadership.

A source said that Lazeri has raised concern about the safety of Frontex vessels patrolling the eastern Aegean following the recent events. He noted that the crews of Frontex vessels operating in the area as part of Operation Poseidon must constantly evaluate the situation as Turkish vessels are unpredictable.

(A version of this article was originally published by the Kathimerini newspapaper and is reproduced by permission.)

Ahval

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