Despite Imia calm, Turkish ships remain in vicinity

Despite Imia calm, Turkish ships remain in vicinity

The situation around the Imia islets was stable on Thursday following an escalation in tensions on Monday night after a Turkish vessel rammed a Hellenic Coast Guard boat.

However, despite the agreement between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim to de-escalate tension, Turkish forces remained in the vicinity on Thursday.

A Turkish gunboat and smaller Turkish Coast Guard vessels arrived in an area east of Imia Thursday morning, while the Hellenic Coast Guard was stationed at the nearby islet of Kalolimnos.

Moreover, the construction of military installations by Turkish forces continued on the islet of Cavus, only one mile away from Imia and Gumusluk on the nearby Turkish coast.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt thanked Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Thursday in a tweet “for your strong support for our alliance with Greece.”

Pyatt’s comment came after the Brussles meeting of NATO defense ministers and talks between Mattis and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos on Thursday morning.

According to a report on the website, which was tweeted by Kammenos, Greece informed US officials that it cannot afford not to react immediately to an aggressive action by Turkey. This echoed the sentiment expressed by Tsipras Thursday that Athens would not “allow, accept or tolerate any challenge to its territorial integrity and its sovereign rights.”

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