A slight collision occurred between Greek and Turkish warships in the eastern Mediterranean, exacerbating the already tense relations between Athens and Ankara. This is reported by Reuters.
Tensions between the NATO allies have risen this week after Turkey sent a survey vessel to the region, escorted by warships, to map out sea territory for possible oil and gas drilling in an area where Turkey and Greece both claim jurisdiction.
European Union foreign ministers, who met via teleconference, called for a de-escalation of tensions, an EU official said.
The Turkish Oruc Reis survey ship has been moving between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete, shadowed by a number of Greek frigates. On Wednesday one Greek ship, the Limnos, was approaching the survey vessel when it came into the path of one of its Turkish naval escorts, the Kemal Reis.
The Greek frigate manoeuvred to avoid a head-on collision and in the process its bow touched the rear of the Turkish frigate, the defence source said, calling it a “mini collision.”
“It was an accident,” the source said, adding the Limnos was not damaged. It subsequently took part in a joint military exercise with France off Crete on Thursday morning, the person said.
In Switzerland on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Athens needs to act with reason and called on the European Union to stop “pampering” Greece. Turkey has also cautioned France to stay out of the row.
Greece “should not attempt to provoke Oruc Reis like it did two days ago or it will receive a response,” Cavusoglu said, adding the European Union should not give it “unconditional support.”
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Vienna on Friday, said he hoped all parties involved would act within international law.
“Everything can be resolved, but this is a question that you have to put to the Turks,” Dendias said.