Turkish PM urges Greece to avoid escalating tensions

Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim speaks during World Muslim Minorities Summit at the Ceremonial Hall of Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey on April 16, 2018. (AA)

Greek youth reportedly raised a flag on a disputed islet in the Aegean Sea on Sunday before Turkish coastguard teams removed the flag.

Turkey’s prime minister on Monday urged Greece to avoid escalating tensions in the wake of another flashpoint incident in the Aegean Sea off the Turkish coast.

“Our coastguard teams did what was necessary and removed the flag,” Binali Yildirim said, following reports that Greek youths late on Sunday tried to plant a flag on an islet near Didim, southwestern Turkey.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, Yildirim said Sunday’s incident was similar to events in February over the Kardak islets, in which a Turkish patrol boat rammed into a Greek Coast Guard patrol boat in the Aegean.

“Our advice to Greece would be to stay away from provocations and agitations. We are determined to give the necessary response to such fait accompli,” Yildirim said.

In January, the Turkish Coast Guard blocked Greece’s defence minister from approaching Kardak to lay a wreath there.

A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Aegean islets brought the two countries to the brink of an armed conflict in 1996.

Source: AA