A Turkish defense minister accused the Greek military of “harassing” one of his country’s research vessels near the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea on Tuesday.
Turkey’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that four Greek F-16 fighters had flown close to the ship TCG Cesme, which was performing “technical and scientific research” in Greece’s waters.
One of the fighter jets allegedly flew at an altitude of nearly 3,300 feet and dropped a flare two nautical miles (2.3 miles) from the Turkish ship.
“This is unfortunately one of the frequent acts of harassment by our Greek neighbors,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters. “We all believe that such harassment is not appropriate and does not suit good neighborly relations.”
Akar did not specify details during the interview (in Turkish) but said that Turkey had made an “adequate response” to the action.
Greece’s Ministry of Defense denied the incident took place and said that no Greek fighter aircraft approached the Turkish vessel.
The Greek Air Force was conducting an exercise in the Aegean Sea on Tuesday but “far” from the location of the Turkish ship, the ministry said.
After a five-year pause, Turkey and Greece had resumed talks on January 25 regarding energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. The talks aimed to resolve long-standing disputes between the two NATO member countries.
Athens said it sent an invitation to Ankara to resume talks ahead of a European Union summit in early March. Turkish officials have said they wish to continue dialogue and improve EU ties.
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