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Greek-Turkish tensions spike in East Aegean

Tension between Greece and Turkey has spiked in the eastern Aegean Sea after a Turkish Coast Guard frigate rammed a Greek Coast Guard vessel in disputed waters.

By John Carr

The incident took place near the islet of Imia just off the Turkish coast, which has been in dispute for at least 22 years, and is often the scene of cat-and-mouse encounters between the Greek and Turkish navies, with local fishermen caught in the middle.

According to the Greek Defence Ministry here in Athens, the Turkish vessel deliberately rammed the stern of the Greek one.  Ankara, on the other hand, insists it was an accident, and today was making efforts to play it down.  There were no reported injuries from the collision.

It was in 1996 that Greece and Turkey almost came to blows over Imia, which is uninhabited, and the issue of the precise sea border between Turkey and the Greek islands is still unresolved.  But officials here in Athens believe Turkey could be making a fresh bid to carve out influence in the Aegean Sea, which it claims has always tended to be a Greek lake.   

Listen to John Carr's report from Athens
14 February 2018, 14:35