"There is no doubt about who is the boss in the sensitive area of the Eastern Aegean," said a Greek Coast Guard official following the publication of a video that shows port personnel drawing their guns on a Turkish vessel violating Greece's territorial waters.
A video was published on Wednesday that shows the Greek coast guard drawing their weapons on a Turkish coast guard vessel that was violating Greece's territorial water. The incident took place on January 5 near Farmakonisi.
Responding to the video, a Greek Coast Guard official said to Proto Thema "instead of firing warning shots into the air to intimidate them, we could aim at the engines of the Turkish offshore vessel and immobilise it in Greek territorial waters."
"It is clearly seen in the video that the Greek crew has the ability to trap the Turkish vessel and immobilise it if they chose. Then they could have let the Turks look for a way to tow the vessel to their shores through Greek territorial waters," added the Coast Guard official to the local outlet.
"However, our goal is not to cause tensions in response to their actions, but to guard our maritime borders with determination, calmness and a clear mind so we can carry out search and rescue operations," said the official.
As he pointed out, "if you see all the videos that have come to light, it is obvious that the Turks' goal is to ram and cause serious material damage to our vessels with whatever consequences it may have for the crew that will receive the hit.
"It is clearly seen in the videos that they are moving dangerously and aggressively towards the vessels of the Greek Coast Guard."
Sources from the Coast Guard told Proto Thema: "The one and only reason we have not mourned victims in such incidents is the seamanship, composure, experience and determination of the Greek crews."
"The scumbags do this when the Coast Guard attempts search and rescue in Greek territorial waters.
"When the press releases issued by the Coast Guard refer to the presence of Turkish vessels, know that the Turks are making the actions of the Greek crews difficult, endangering the physical integrity of both the Coast Guard and the people who are in danger at sea."
In the Eastern Aegean , the maritime borders are guarded with more than 70 boats and 2,500 personnel. The numbers for land border guarding are similar in terms of staffing.
"As long as Turkey does not change its stance, such incidents will continue," Coast Guard officials said.
In recent months, the number of border incidents with Turkish offshore vessels related to violations of Greek territorial waters amounts to 50 and concern the entire wider area of the eastern Aegean - from the Evros Delta to Kastelorizo.
"There is no doubt about who is the boss in the sensitive area of the Eastern Aegean. Even in search and rescue incidents, the Coast Guard is the first to be informed and the first to take action in the entire area of Greek responsibility," operational officials stressed.
"The rescues of 260,000 migrants from 2015 to date are a resounding and indisputable response to all those who hid behind the humanitarian mask and accuse and vilify both the Coast Guard and his own country.
"In a communication war that the Coast Guard is keeping well, the Hellenic Coast Guard responsibly and proudly declares that it will continue to offer adequate search and rescue services to those in proven danger at sea, but at the same time it will continue to monitor and protect the maritime borders of the homeland.
"It must finally be understood by everyone that Greece does not only have land borders but also sea borders".
Comparison of maritime incidents for the 2020-2022 period:
- 724 in 2020
- 905 in 2021, a 14% increase,
- 1,798 in 2022, a growth rate of 97%
Comparison of incoming Third Country Nationals (TCNs) 2020-2022:
- 10,074 in 2020,
- decreased to 4,677 in 2021, and
- in 2022 their number skyrocketed to 12,140, an increase rate of 159.5%!
Comparison of Unavoidable Third Country Nationals (TCNs) 2020-2022
- In 2020 it was 15,000, in 2021 it was 22,000 and in 2022 it skyrocketed to 42,300, an increase of 92.2%!
Many questions arise from the overall image and attitude of the Turkish Coast Guard , especially in the last period of time. As can be seen from the recording of various incidents, its presence is provocative and essentially absent when there are incidents of illegal entry into Greek territorial waters from Turkey.