The Greek military was on high alert on Sunday after a Turkish gunboat carrying Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar sailed into Greek waters and around the Imia islets at around 10.30 a.m.
The Turkish gunboat was escorted by several assault craft carrying commandos, which also circled the islets that brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war 21 years ago, almost to the day.
Greek authorities responded to what is being viewed as Turkish provocation with warnings and dispatched the Hellenic Navy’s Krataios gunboat, which escorted the Turkish flotilla out of Greece’s territorial waters.
Diplomatic officials believe the incident to be a response to a Greek Supreme Court ruling last week rejecting a request from Ankara for the extradition of eight Turkish servicemen accused of taking part in failed coup last summer.
Turkish military authorities released photographs showing Akar on the gunboat, with Imia in the background.