Turkey summons Greek envoy over 'violation of territorial waters'

Turkey summons Greek envoy over 'violation of territorial waters'

Turkey summons Greek envoy over violation of territorial waters

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Turkish Foreign Ministry on March 11 summoned the Greek ambassador in Ankara over violations of Turkey's territorial waters and the detention of journalists, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Greece's envoy Michael-Christos Diamessis was summoned to the ministry in capital Ankara. The ministry called on Greece to end violations of the Turkish waters. 

Ankara also sought an end to journalists being detained on the islands of Rhodes and Lesbos "where they were reporting on asylum-seekers' humanitarian situation."

Relations are tense between Greece and Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in late February ordered the borders to be re-opened for refugees to leave Turkey.    

Thousands then massed at the land border with Greece this month where Greek authorities tear-gassed people trying to enter the country, and allegedly beat and stripped migrants of their belongings if they made it across the frontier.    

Erdoğan raised the temperature earlier on March 11, insisting there was "no difference between what the Nazis did and those images from the Greek border."    

Greece has denied using violence.

With 3.7 million Syrian migrants in Turkey already, more than any other country in the world, and some 1 million poised across the border in Idlib, Syria, Ankara says it cannot absorb another refugee wave.

In the meantime, Turkey's Ambassador to Athens, Burak Özügergin met with the Greek Foreign Ministry's Secretary-General Themistoklis Demiris on March 11.

Özügergin and Demiris discussed recent developments on the Turkish-Greece border and the Aegean Sea in the meeting held at the Greek Foreign Ministry, Anadolu Agency cited diplomatic sources as saying.

Referring to a near-collision between a Turkish and Greek Coast Guard patrol in Turkish seas, in Aegean resort town of Bodrum, earlier in the day, Özügergin said Greek security forces had violated Turkish territorial waters.

He added that Greek security vessels had acted in violation of international law, and their acts could not be evaluated in the context of "innocent passage rights."

The envoy said Turkish coastal security acted in line with international law, sending off the Greek vessels.

"Turkey is one of the strongest supporters of freedom of navigation in air and sea, and it will not tolerate acts threatening its sovereignty and violating international law," Ambassador Özügergin was quoted as saying.

Demiris expressed his concerns, saying they did not want further conflicts.