After more than 24 hours, the three boats of the Turkish Coast Guard withdrew from the two islets of Imia. Crisis between Greece and Turkey diffused? Hardly. Ankara is obsessed with the Greek islets, part of a total 16 to 18 islets and islands it claims they belong to Turkey.
Tuesday saw an escalation in the relations between the two neighboring countries after a Turkish Coast Guard boat rammed a patrol boat of the Greek Coast Guard and Ankara kept three TCG boats around Imia and within Greek territorial waters for more almost 48 hours.
Video released and posted by the Turkish Armed Forces on Feb 13, shows a TCG boat sailing closely to Imia
Ankara claimed through its Foreign Ministry that the two islets were “under Turkish sovereignty.”
Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas responded “Turkey has lost sense of moderation, common sense. “Apart from violating international law, it proves that it does not know geography.”
Video shows the TCG boats around Imia, footgae shot form nearby island of Kalymnos.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim, spoke over the phone. Tsipras imperatively asked that the Turkish boats withdraw and warned that such incidents undermine the bilateral relations.
Deputy Defense Minister, Dimitris Vitsas, said on Wednesday morning that Greece is closely monitoring the situation and underlined “there are no grey zones in the Aegean.” He described Ankara’s positions and claims as “unhistorical and unacceptable.”
Sometime on Wednesday morning the TCG boats left the area and sailed to turkish waters where they remain.
A Greek Cost Guard boat is close to nearby islet of Kalolimnos, while a gunboat of the Greek Navy is near the island of Leros, state broadcaster ERT reported.
While Greek officials keep a calm approach to the issue, Turkey continued its provocations even though in verbal tone. Prime Minister Yildirim claimed “we were provoked and gave an answer.” Erdogan’s close aide and conspiracy theorist, Yigit Bulut, saw the Americans behind Greece’s attacks to Turkey”. He claimed “Greece is a fly, but Turkey is a giant” and “the consequences will be horrifying.” Indescribable adviser Bulut had recently threatened to “break the legs” of the Greek PM over Imia.
Note, that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due to Ankara on Thursday and his visit is taking place after Ankara warned the alliance in Syria could “break completely” because the US supports the Kurdish fighters in Syria. “Ties with US are at a very critical point” Turkish foreign Minster Msevsut Cavusoglou warned just hours before Tillerson landed in Ankara airport.
It is worth noting that the US State Department washed its hands in the famous Pontius Pilatus basket commenting on the Imia incident:
“Turkey-Greece have long-established diplomatic channels for addressing Aegean issues/we encourage all parties to take steps that will deescalate current situation/as matter of principle US supports sovereignty of countries in region including Greece-Turkey.” via ERT Correspondent in Washington Lena Argiri.
Suspicions is close that in its megalomania Turkey is triggering tension in Greece and Cyprus to convince the US that is a ‘fearless giant who has the upper hand in the area.
However, the era of the Ottoman Empire ended in the very beginning of last century and there is not way the Neo-Ottomans of Erdogan will manage to revive it in the current century.