Tension prevailed off Farmakonisi island on Wednesday morning, when Turkish coastal guards called a Slovenian patrol boat of EU-Border agency FRONTEX to leave the area and a Greek patrol boat was rushed to clear the territorial issue of the island.
Greek media report that the captain of the Turkish boat called the Slovenian boat to ‘withdraw from Turkish territorial waters”.
The captain of the Slovenian boat refused to obey the Turks, arguing that this was part of the international unit Frontex combating illegal immigration.
A Greek coastguard boat rushed to the spot and reminded the Turkish officers that the Farmakonisi area is in Greek territorial waters and that the Frontext is full licensed to operate in the Eastern Aegean Sea.
According to news portal Zougla.gr:
The captain of the Slovenian boat informed the operation centre about the incident that occurred at 3 a.m. The operation centre sent a Greek coastguard.
The Turkish captain called the Greek boat as well to withdraw from the area. However he received the answer that the area was Greek and that he had to go away.
The Turkish boat attempted to ram the Greek boat, but the Greek captain managed to avoid the ramming and eventually turned towards the Turkish boat causing both boats to collide.
After some very tense moments where even weapons were ‘unlocked’ on both sides, the Greek captain manage to diffuse the dangerous situation.
The Turkish boat left after the area.
Farmakonisi, a small island belonging to Dodecanese group, with some fishermen as residents and an army unit. Turkey does not recognizes it as Greek, although it is 5.5 nautical miles away from the Turkish coast and Turkish sea borders extend just 3 nautical miles off the coast.
Greek Foreign Ministry reportedly prepares a protest note to Turkey.
The Navy or the Defence Ministry did not issued any press release as the Coastal Guard is assigned to Greek Police.
PS All Greeks needed right now would be a confrontation with Turkey over allegations on “disputed zones“.