Turkey’s NTV broadcaster reported that s cargo vessel sailing under the Turkish flag, named ‘ACT,’ came under fire from Greek coast guard boats in the Aegean Sea earlier today.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said it strongly condemns the incident in which Greek coast guard boats reportedly fired shots at a Turkish freighter in the Aegean Sea on Monday, calling it an “unmeasured” act on the part of Athens.
“There is no justification… for firing on an unarmed commercial ship carrying freight between two Turkish ports. Our sole consolation is that nobody was killed or injured as a result of the incident,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Ankara said it condemns the actions of the Greek coast guard, carried out in “disregard for human life, which is the most basic right.”
The ministry said it was important to notify the international community of Athens’ behavior to make sure “similar events will never happen again.”
The freighter reportedly picked up cargo in the Turkish port of Iskenderun and was moving in the direction of the Izmit Bay of the Sea of Marmara, Reuters reports.
While in the Aegean Sea, the Turkish ship was allegedly approached by Greek coast guard vessels, which demanded that it enter a port on the Greek island of Rhodes for cargo inspection.
The Turkish captain allegedly ignored the call, which led to the Greek coast guards opening fire on the freighter.
“We did not accept this. They wanted to check (the ship), and we didn’t accept that. They said they would fire if we didn’t stop, they did what they said. Now there are 16 holes in the ship,” the freighter’s captain, Sami Kalkavan, told CNN Turk.
Meanwhile, Kalkavan didn’t specify what cargo his ship was carrying and why he didn’t want it to be inspected.
The Greek coast guard said in a statement that only warning shots were fired as a vessel carrying a Turkish flag refused to cooperate before returning to Turkish waters.
According to the Greek official statement “the Turkish vessel was in Greek [territorial] waters, thus, when there was no reaction to the demand of the coast guard, warning fire was opened.”
The Greek Coast Guard said it tried to stop the vessel following “an anonymous telephone complaint” that it was carrying narcotics, however, according to Reuters, the Greek side refused to comment further.