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Greece's coast guard opens fire on a 'suspicious' Turkish cargo ship

Greece's coast guard opens fire on a 'suspicious' Turkish cargo

Greek coast guards opened fire on a cargo ship sailing in international waters in the Aegean Sea, escalating tensions with Turkey that have been rising in recent weeks.

Foreign media reported that there were no casualties from the shooting, which took place 11 miles southwest of the Turkish island of Bozcaada, a Turkish coastguard statement said.

The Greek coastguard confirmed it fired "warning shots" at a vessel "moving suspiciously" in Greek territorial waters near the island of Lesbos.

The cargo ship's captain refused to allow an inspection and was later escorted into nearby Turkish waters, Greek coast guard officials said, adding that they informed maritime authorities in Turkey about the incident.

The area is known for many ships that bring migrants from Turkey to European Union countries, Greece and Italy. The Greek coast guard says it regularly checks vessels behaving suspiciously in the Aegean.

The neighboring countries have been embroiled in disputes for decades and friction has risen in recent weeks, with both sides claiming airspace violations. Greek officials have raised concerns about another outbreak of conflict in Europe following Russia's war in Ukraine.

Ankara has accused Athens of "occupying" several Aegean islands and harassing Turkish aircraft with Russian-made S-300 defense systems stationed there. Athens denies the claims.

Greece says it must defend its eastern islands, including the tourist hotspots of Rhodes and Kos, which are much closer to Turkey than the Greek mainland, against its larger and more militarily powerful neighbour.

Source: Al Jazzera

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