Greek, Turkish patrol ships collide near disputed islets

ATHENS: A Greek gunboat on Wednesday collided with a Turkish patrol boat near a disputed islet group in the Aegean, the Greek navy said.

“It was probably owing to an error on the part of the Turkish vessel,” a Greek navy source told AFP.

“The vessels’ sides came together. There was no damage and nobody was hurt. The incident is over,” the officer added.

The incident occurred near the uninhabited Imia islets, just off the Turkish coast and a historic flarepoint in a long-running demarcation dispute.

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A year ago, Greece’s military bristled after a Turkish navy patrol boat fired shots during manoeuvres in the area, which Athens considers Greek waters.

The Imia islets — called Kardak in Turkey — lie just seven kilometres (4.5 miles) from Bodrum.

A row over their sovereignty islets flared in January 1996, when the two countries sent marines to two neighbouring islands in a sign of an imminent armed confrontation.

They then withdrew their troops after heavy diplomatic pressure by the United States, a fellow member of NATO.


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