Aegean islet flag incident sparks new tension between Ankara and Athens

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram It was four days ago that three young Greek men from Fourni island jumped on a small boat and raised the Greek flag on not one but five Greek islets claimed by Turkey.The act came as a response to last week’s air-force mock fights between the two neighbouring countries which led to a 34-year-old air force pilot losing his life in an accidental plane-crash.The islet that was mainly reported on by the media, Mikros Anthropofas (also known as Mikros Anthropofagos) was the one that sparked Turkey’s furry.According to daily Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Ankara had told authorities in Athens on Saturday that a Greek flag had been spotted by its coast guard on the tiny islet of Mikros Anthropofas near Fourni repeatedly asking for the Greek flag to be taken down before ordering a special forces unit to take it down.Turkey’s PM Binali Yildirim claimed early Monday morning that the Turkish Coast Guard took down a Greek flag from an Aegean islet in a “disputed area” that was reportedly raised by three Greeks on a speedboat on Friday, Kathimerini reports.Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Yildirim’s statement was “totally provocative and reprehensible” adding that “Greece will never accept the theory of ‘gray zones’ or any questioning of its territorial sovereignty”.“I think Mr Yildirim should be more careful. We call on Turkey to return to a path of respect for international law,” he said, adding that Turkish authorities should “take the initiative to de-escalate the tension.“We continue to investigate the matter in a calm and very serious fashion,” Tzanakopoulos added.According to witnesses in the area – including the mayor of Fourni Yiannis Marousis – all five flags are still in place while Tzanakopoulos insists that there was no evidence of any “violation of Greek territory”.“It was three kids who had come to the island for their Easter holidays,” Marousis said “they do not comprehend what they could have provoked.”last_img

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