A Turkish cargo vessel had a run-in with a Greek coast guard patrol off Turkey’s Aeagean coast on Saturday, with the two nations providing conflicting accounts of the incident.
The Comoros-flagged ro-ro vessel ‘Anatolian’ sustained minor damage from Greek small arms fire, according to the Turkish side. The Greek coastguard, however, insists that only warning shots were fired at the vessel.
Turkish media circulated video footage of the incident, captured by the crew of the ‘Anatolian’. It shows a Greek coast guard boat sailing alongside the ro-ro vessel. The video also shows several bullet holes in the windows and walls of the vessel’s superstructure, purportedly left as the result of Greek small arms fire.
According to Turkey’s Ministry of Interior, the cargo vessel came under “harassment fire” from the Greek coast guard while sailing off the Turkish island of Bozcaada in international waters. Two Turkish coast guard vessels were dispatched to assist the ‘Anatolian’, but the Greek vessel left the area after detecting the approaching ships, the ministry claimed.
According to the Greek coast guard, however, the ‘Anatolian’ was found moving “suspiciously” in the country’s domestic waters to the northwest of Lesbos, a large Greek island located near Turkish coast.
The ‘Anatolian’ was contacted by the coast guard, which urged it to alter its course and leave Greek territorial waters. The vessel, however, did not comply and warning shots were fired “in a safe area,” the Greek side claimed. The ship did not stop, even while it was under fire, and ultimately escaped into Turkish territorial waters.
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