Turks in third Imia violation

In the third incident of its kind in less than a week, a Turkish coast guard patrol boat entered Greek waters and sailed within 500 metres of the Imia islets in the eastern Dodecanese on Saturday. Military sources said the Turkish vessel approached the uninhabited rocks, which Ankara and Athens came close to fighting over in January 1996, at 11 a.m. and despite repeated requests by a Greek coast guard boat, did not withdraw until 13.50 p.m. A nearby Greek naval gunboat had also been monitoring the situation. «This type of behavior will be dealt with in a consistent manner, and accordingly European principles and rules must be respected without exception,» said Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos in response to the incident. Another two Turkish patrols entered Greek waters on Tuesday and were reported to have sailed in between the Imia islets before lingering in the area for several hours. Ankara said the vessels had simply been chasing off a Greek fishing boat from Turkish waters. Athens said it would protest to the EU over the incident.