Defense authorities in Greece have refuted reports in the Turkish media suggesting that the neighboring country had sent ships to the eastern Aegean’s Imia islets which were preventing Greek vessels from approaching the area.
In a statement, the National Defense General Staff said the reports were part of customary efforts by Ankara to play up the anniversary Tuesday of the 1996 Imia crisis, which brought the two countries to the brink of war. Military sources added that the situation around the islets was calm.
Meanwhile, reports in Turkey said the country’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had sent a letter of congratulations to his new Greek counterpart and former chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff Evangelos Apostolakis and invited him to visit Turkey. The Greek Defense Ministry did not confirm receipt of an invitation.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency hailed Akar’s initiative as an effort to reduce tension in the eastern Aegean ahead of the Imia anniversary.