Turkey chooses to further escalate its rhetoric hours after a Turkish Coast Guard ship rammed a Hellenic Coast Guard vessel at the area of Imia.
The intention of the Turkish ship was to sink the Greek vessel as a worse impact was avoided at literally the very last second thanks to the fast response of the laters crew. The Turkish ship was heading full speed right at the center of the Greek vessel but impacted its stern.
After an unexpectedly delayed response of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Turkish side responded with a provocative written statement, according to which the Imia rocks (Kardak for the Turks) are a Turkish territory and the Greek presence there is hostile and won’t be tolerated.
Turkey’s moves are in conflict with both international law and the 1996 agreement, which provided that no warships, aircrafts and helicopters were to approach the two islets of Imia.
The Imia rocks were at the center of the 1996 crisis between the two countries.
The provocative official Turkish statement is as follows:
In the statement made today (13 February) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece, it is claimed that the Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made “a strong demarche protesting” a dangerous incident, which took place within the Kardak region. Unfortunately, the Greek side has both misled its public opinion as we are accustomed to, and has distorted the facts, as is always the case.
In fact, the Undersecretary of our Ministry has called the Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the incidents caused last night by the Greek Coast Guard boats through their dangerous maneuvers in the vicinity of the Kardak rocks, which are under Turkish sovereignty. The Undersecretary has clearly stated that the hostile actions of the Greek military forces are continuing in air and at sea, of which we will not tolerate, and that increasing tension in the Aegean Sea does not serve to the interests of the two countries. He further stated that the Greek side should end these dangerous actions.