The Greek coast guard has fired on a Turkish freighter after the ship failed to comply with an order to dock at a port in the Aegean Sea.
The captain of the Turkish M/V ACT ship said Monday that the Greek coast guard opened fire at the vessel after he refused their order to dock at the Greek island of Rhodes for inspection.
“The coast guard asked for the ship to be docked at the port at Rhodes immediately, and we did not accept this. They wanted to check (the ship), and we didn’t accept that,” said Sami Kalkavan, adding, “They said they would fire if we didn’t stop, they did what they said.”
Kalkavan said the firing put 16 bullet holes in the Turkish ship, but there was no risk of water intake. He would not say why he avoided the inspection. The captain added that the ship had set off from Turkey’s southeastern city of Iskenderun near the Syrian border and confirmed that the ship had returned to the Turkish waters.
Media reports suggested that Turkey’s coast guard ships were at the scene of the incident. Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said it was investigating the case in cooperation with relevant authorities.
The coast guard in Greece said it decided to inspect the cargo of the Turkish freighter after it received an anonymous call. It said in a statement that warning shots were fired and that the ship returned to the Turkish waters.
Turkey and Greece have a history of rivalry and friction over territorial and diplomatic issues. The two almost began a war in 1996 over the islets known as Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish. Relations soured last year after Greece refused to extradite military personnel allegedly involved in an unsuccessful coup in July in Turkey.