by Aggelos Skordas
Turkish news agency Anadolu and a local newspaper published a one-minute video footage on Wednesday morning, allegedly showing Greek gunboat “Mahitis” sailing off the coast of Izmir bearing the flag of the Byzantine Empire. The footage, which has since been played by the country’s major media, caused fierce reactions in Turkey although the Greek media present a completely different version of the events.
Specifically, Greek daily Ta Nea refute the Turkish allegations, explaining that the Greek gunboat, on January 17, was participating in routine exercises carried out by the Hellenic Navy fleet east of Chios, sailing within Greece’s territorial waters as well as international waters. Furthermore, according to the same sources, its captain has never raised the Byzantine flag, while the footage projected by the Turkish media show nothing more than a group of Greek battleships sailing near “Mahitis”. Most importantly, the Greek daily adds, the day the Turkish media claim the gunboat sailed off the cost of Izmir it was docked at the Elefsina Naval Station.
It should be reminded that only a few days ago, the neighbouring country’s media published yet another video footage showing a Turkish coastguard patrol vessel approaching the Greek gunboat “Nikiforos” off the uninhabited Imia islets that in January 1996 brought the two countries to the brink of war and have since been the scene of numerous “hot” incidents. The video, which was published by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, shows the patrol vessel rapidly approaching “Nikiforos” while a crew member shouts warnings, before it finally clears out.
*Watch video making it’s way around Turkish media publications –