According to reports, a Turkish fast attack craft has approached the island complex of Imia in Greek waters. The Turkish chief of General Staff, Hulusi Akar was reportedly on board the vessel. Imia is located on the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey and was the region at the centre of an incident that nearly led to a full blown naval conflict between Greece and Turkey in 1996. The ship was escorted by two speedboats of the Turkish special forces. The provocation occurred Sunday morning, 21 years to the day of the 1996 Imia crisis.
According to reports, the Greek gunboat “Krateos” requested the Turkish ship depart from the area as it was in Greek waters. The Turkish fast track craft along with the two special forces speedboats left after a a few minutes. The Greek General Army Staff did not confirm the chief of the Turkish General Staff was on board the boat.
The incident is being amplified by Turkish media with CNNTurk leading with the story.
The Head of the Turkish General Staff along with all chiefs of the separate military bodies visited the islands of Imia (Kardak, as Turkey calls the islands), according to statement released by the body which was uploaded on its official site. The post also shows 20 photos of the approach to the isles. “The Turkish chief of General Staff, Hulusi Akar, along with heads of the Army, Navy and Air-Force, inspected the Aksaz naval base on January 29, 2017” read the post on its official website.