Ankara: No Imia violations

Ankara yesterday claimed that it did not violate Greek territorial waters around the Imia islets on Tuesday but Athens insisted that it was reporting the matter to the EU as behavior unbecoming of a prospective union member. Referring to Tuesday’s incident, when two Turkish coast guard patrol boats sailed between the uninhabited rocky outcrops in the eastern Dodecanese, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said, «The EU is being informed of the stance of a country, in this case Turkey, which has set itself a target of becoming a full EU member and, it seems, is behaving in a manner that is not in step with this effort.» Athens and Ankara almost came to blows over the Imia islets in 1996. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan claimed that the coast guard vessels had simply chased off a Greek fishing boat that had strayed into Turkey’s territorial waters. Defense Ministry sources said Turkish fighter jets violated Greek air space in the Aegean seven times yesterday. Three of the jets were armed and two were photo reconnaissance planes.