Standoff with Turkish frigate off Kastellorizo

Athens on Saturday protested to Ankara over the presence of a Norwegian-flagged vessel believed to have been prospecting for oil off the coast of Kastellorizo, in the southeast Aegean, under the escort of a Turkish frigate. The Foreign Ministry immediately complained to officials in Ankara and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis contacted her counterpart in Oslo. A Hellenic Navy vessel intercepted the ships but the Norwegian vessel had not retreated by late yesterday. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos, the two vessels had been outside Greek territorial waters but in a region containing part of Greece’s continental shelf. Turkey and Greece have long disagreed about the delineation of borders in the Aegean and nearly went to war over the issue in 1987 and 1996.