TURKEY (OBSERVATORY) – Turkey warned on Monday of what it called Greek provocations in a long-running Aegean dispute after Ankara said it had removed a Greek flag on an uninhabited island.
Turkey and Greece are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but have disagreements over a number of issues, including ethnically divided Cyprus and sovereignty over airspace. The two countries were locked in a war in 1996 in a dispute over islands in the Aegean Sea, but tension has since ebbed.
“There was an attempt to plant a Greek flag on an uninhabited island,” Turkish Prime Minister Ben Ali Yildirim told reporters. “In response, our Coast Guard teams intervened and removed the flag from there.”
He continued: “What we recommend Greece and our good relations and good neighborly to refrain from provocations that increase tension and act within the framework of the law of good neighborliness.”
The site (Samos 24) on the Internet that three young men raised the Greek flag at the highest point on the island known as Micros Anthropovas.
Despite Yildirim’s announcement of flag-cutting, Greek media quoted some nearby islanders as saying that science was still being raised.
Athens said Yildirim remarks were provocative.
“The latest statement from the Ministry of Defense and Navy to the Greek Prime Minister indicates that there has been no incident involving a violation of Greek soil,” a Greek government spokesman told reporters. But we continue to look into the matter calmly and seriously.”
“In any case, I should say that Mr. Yildirim statement is completely provocative and deserves condemnation.”