(PresidentialWire.com)- Greek coast guard vessels opened fire on a cargo ship sailing in international waters in the Aegean Sea, escalating the already rising tensions between Greece and Turkey.
The incident took place last Saturday about 11 nautical miles southwest of the Turkish island of Bozcaada.
Cellphone video footage released by the Turkish coast guard reportedly showed a Greek coast guard ship coming alongside the cargo ship as about a dozen gunshots are heard. A crew member, speaking Turkish, said the ship was being attacked by the Greek coast guard.
The footage then shows what appears to be a bullet hole in a window and the ceiling of the cargo ship’s bridge.
According to Turkish officials, two Turkish coast guard ships responded to the area and the two Greek vessels left.
It was not clear what caused the incident.
Turkey and Greece have been in disputes for decades and tensions have escalated in recent weeks, with both sides alleging airspace violations.
Turkey has accused its neighbor of breaking international agreements by maintaining a military presence on islands near the Turkish Aegean coastline. The country has also accused Greek air defenses of locking on to Turkish fighter jets during NATO exercises over the eastern Mediterranean.
Greece maintains that it must be able to defend its eastern islands against its militarily stronger neighbor, especially the tourist destinations of Rhodes and Kos which are closer to Turkey than to the Greek mainland.
In a statement after Saturday’s incident, Turkish officials claimed the gunfire disregarded the “rules of international law.”
A Turkish prosecutor has ordered an investigation into the shooting while the Turkish government protested to Greek authorities, with Ankara demanding an explanation and a swift investigation.
The 18-man crew of the cargo ship consisted of three Turks, four Somalis, five Azerbaijanis, and six Egyptians.