Greek defense authorities refute media reports of Turkish ships near Imia


Defense authorities in Greece on Tuesday refuted reports in the Turkish media suggesting that the country had sent ships to Imia that were preventing Greek vessels from approaching the islets that brought the two neighbors to the brink of war in January 1996.

An announcement by the National Defense General Staff dismissed the reports as being part of customary efforts in Turkey to play up the anniversary of the Imia crisis and suggest unusual tension in the eastern Aegean with Greece.

Military sources added that the situation around the islets is calm, further dismissing a report in the daily Sabah that indicated the presence of three Turkish navy and one Turkish coast guard ship in the area, preventing the Greek side from approaching the islets and possibly throwing a wreath into the sea to commemorate three officers who were killed when their helicopter crashed.