The incident between Greek fishermen, the Turkish coastguard and the Greek Coast Guard was explained by the mayor of Kalymnos, Dimitris Diakomichalis, while the Turkish Coast Guard also referred to the incident with an announcement.
Diakomichalis characterizes the incident as expected as it occurred on the morning of the feast of the Epiphany, when Kalymnos fishermen go to the area of Imia as it is the period when there is a lot of sea bream.
Five fishing boats went to the area and according to the mayor of Kalymnos, “when the Turks saw the Greek boats fishing, they invaded Greek territorial waters, and three boats of the Turkish Coast Guard were trying to cut the buoys.
“The Greek fishermen asked for help from the boats of the Greek Coast Guard, they came there and the naval skirmishes began. There was a ‘charging’ between a Turkish coastguard and a Greek speedboat, which caused damage to our boat,” he added.
According to the mayor of Kalymnos, Greek boats should be permanently in the area and not be invited, while he had asked the authorities (the Minister of Shipping and the head of the port) “to have a permanent presence to avoid an incident.”
However, the Turkish Coast Guard in a post that accompanies a photo from the episode, used harsh language and attacked Greece.
“Greek vessels, which know no borders and are constantly pushing irregular migrants back into Turkish territorial waters in violation of international law, this time, were expelled from Turkish territorial waters,” it said.
It is recalled that the incident ended at noon with Greek fishing and Turkish coast guard boats moving away from the area.
This is not the first time this has happened, as in mid-January last year and in 2019 with fishermen then complaining that the Turkish port authorities had taken out a weapon.
In response to the reports, the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy released a statement.
“Information that has seen the light of day (…) has nothing to do with reality, about the alleged involvement in the area of Imia with vessels of the Turkish Coast Guard.”
“The Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy and the Headquarters of the Greek Coast Guard in cooperation with the competent authorities, will continue to monitor the specific area with great care in order to defend the sovereign rights of the country,” it added.
Imia (Greek: Ίμια) is a pair of small uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea, situated between the Greek island chain of the Dodecanese and the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey.