According to the Turkish military, its navy has managed to stop a Greek coast guard motorboat and a patrol ship from approaching the disputed island of Imia (Kardak) in the Aegean Sea.
“On the 28th of January at approximately at 11:30 a.m. a Greek coast guard motorboat and a patrol ship attempted to enter the waters near Kardak Island. The Turkish Naval Forces prevented their attempt to approach this island,” reports the Turkish military department, according to Sputnik.
It was also noted in the report that the Turkish Armed Forces will continue “to defend national interests according to international law.”
Turkish news agency Anadolu, citing Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs, reports that the Greek Minister of Defense Panos Kammenos was on board the motorboat. Kammenos was heading to the islets to lay a wreath there. The Greek vessels left the area after the warning of the Turkish coast guard officers, according to the publication.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement that the coast guard units “did what was necessary,” as quoted by the media outlet.
In 1996, the dispute over the territorial affiliation of the two rocky islets of Imia in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea led to a crisis in relations between Greece and Turkey. The conflict was terminated after the intervention of the international community, NATO and the United States. During the last days of the crisis, on January 31, 1996, a helicopter from the Hellenic Navy crashed in the conflict area, three Greek officers were killed. Technical problems were said to have caused the accident.