Turkish patrol boat rams Greek coastguard vessel amid heightened tension

Turkish coastguard boat proceeds to check an inflatable boat at the sea between Greece’s Lesbos island and the Turkish coast on March 6, 2020. (AFP)

The Greek coastguard said Wednesday that one of its patrol boats was rammed by a Turkish coastguard vessel amid heightened tension between the two countries.

No one was injured in the incident, which occurred in the early morning, and the damage caused to the Greek boat was only minor, the Greek coastguard added.

There has been increased tension between Greece and Turkey after Ankara on February 28 said it would no longer stop asylum seekers from trying to enter the European Union.

The announcement prompted thousands to mass at the border and attempt to cross the Aegean.

Greek riot police have been deployed to hold back over 35,000 people at the land border with Turkey, making use of tear gas and water cannon.

Turkish riot police have also been sent to the border and have fired tear gas at Greek forces.

Both sides have accused each other of making false accusations.

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Last week, the Greek coastguard released a video which it said showed a Turkish patrol boat in dangerously close pursuit of one of its vessels.

Earlier, the Turkish coastguard had put out a video which appears to show a Greek coastguard vessel repelling an inflatable dinghy full of migrants, in violation of rescue rules.

“We have not used any sort of excessive force,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told CNN on March 6 in response to claims that Greek forces had fired at and killed migrants.

“We are always reacting, we are never initiating, in terms of responding to the provocations that have taken place at the border,” Mitsotakis said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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