January 23, 2015

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PROVOCATION: Greek fishing boats bullied by Turkish Submarine Near Imia

The Turkish paper Hurriyet said in a report that two Greek fishing boats approaching the islets of Imia on January 22 decided to retreat and return to the island of Kalymnos after the Turkish submarine “Tayfun” (Typhoon) suddenly surfaced in front of them.

The paper basically claimed that the Greek fishing boats were attempting to illegally fish in Turkish territorial waters. This is obviously an absurd statement because the territorial waters in and around Imia are GREEK.

It should be reminded that the Imia islets are a pair of two small, uninhabited rocky islands in the Aegean Sea between the Greek Dodecanese islands and the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey. Greece and Turkey almost went to war over these islets in 1996 (or just a short while after PASOK took power under Costas Simitis).

Turkey's refusal to recognize Imia as a set of Greek islets is part of the larger Aegean dispute, which also comprises disputes over the continental shelf, the territorial waters, the air space, the Flight Information Regions (FIR) and the demilitarization of the Aegean islands.

In the aftermath of the 1996 crisis, the dispute has widened, as Turkey has begun to lay parallel claims to a larger number of other islets in the Aegean. All the islands, most of which are inhabited, are regarded as indisputably Greek by Greece but regarded as grey zones of undetermined sovereignty by Turkey.

The European Parliament and the European Commission has continually supported Greece on the issue of Imia, and has warned Turkey on more than one occasion to refrain from using any sort of military operations against Greek sovereignty.

References: Hurriyet, Wikipedia, HellsaFrappe archives

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