Greek, Turkish Navy ships face off in Aegean Sea

Turkish General Hulusi Akar passing by the islets onboard the navy vessel. Photo: Turkish Armed Forces

Greek Coast Guard and Navy vessels reportedly prevented a Turkish Navy missile boat from reaching a group of Aegean Sea islets claimed by Greece on January 29.

The standoff came days after Greece refused to extradite Turkish Army officers involved in the July coup.

The Greek Ministry of Defense said on Sunday it dispatched its vessels to respond after a Turkish Navy missile boat with Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar with other service commanders entered Greek waters.

According to the ministry, the Turkish vessel returned to the Bodrum port after they were escorted out of Greek territorial waters.

The disputed Imia islets are called Kardak in Turkey and are located near the Turkish coast and claimed by both countries.

Tensions over the islands first arose in 1996 when a military conflict was avoided only after diplomatic pressures from the U.S. and NATO states.

Initial media reports in Turkey said the Turkish warship was prevented from approaching the islets but Anadolu Agency later reported the Turkish Armed Forces saying the Greek vessels observed from a distance.

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