Turkey has removed a Greek flag planted on a rocky islet in the Aegean Sea, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, urging Athens to refrain from “provocative moves” that would further escalate tension between the two neighbors.
“There was an attempt to plant a Greek flag on an uninhabited rocky islet across from [the Turkish resort of] Didim. Our coast guard removed the flag from there,” Yıldırım told reporters in Istanbul on April 16.
He refrained from giving details about when this tension occurred and when the flag was removed.
“Our advice to Greece is to stay within the boundaries of good neighborly relations and to avoid provocations that would escalate tension,” Yıldırım said.
The prime minister said tension in the Aegean has been rising once again in recent months “due to Greece’s recent provocative moves,” particularly over disputed islets.
“No one should think that we would give any concessions over our sovereign rights. We are determined to give necessary responses against de facto interventions,” he added.
Turkey and Greece have long been at odds over multiple sources of tension stemming from the Aegean Sea. There is no a border agreement between the two countries and they often come face to face over a score of disputes islets. The gravest tension occurred in the mid-1990s over the uninhabited Kardak islets, where the two countries came to the brink of hot conflict.