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Athens on high alert after Turkish Imia provocation

The Greek government is monitoring the escalation of Turkish provocations with great concern, following the violation of sea waters at the isles of Imia by the Turkish navy, Sunday.

The president of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos warned Turkey to respect history, friendship and neighbourly relations in a statement during his official visit to Portugal. “It does not suffice to say we are friends, we also have to prove it”, he said, while adding that it was a very serious situation since European borders had been breached. Athens has issued official diplomatic remonstrations to major Embassies in Athens on the incident.

Meanwhile, Greece’s armed forces in the Aegean Sea have been put on high alert in the event Turkey chooses to provoke again. Although the Greek government was expecting an escalation on the part of Turkey following the verdict by the Greek Supreme Court to reject the extradition of the 8 Turkish military officers, who have been charged with treason by Turkey over last year’s failed coup, it believed the provocations would mainly focus on threats to renege on the refugee deal with the EU. Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas said the Greek borders were inviolable and non-negotiable. Athens is particularly concerned that the court decision for the 8 Turkish officers could fuel Turkish nationalism even more.