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Athens demands Ankara probe Greek flag vandalism by 'Turkish engineers'

The flag incident took place on Kastellorizo island [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 September, 2020

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Greece has been angered by the vandalism of its national flag by suspected Turkish tourists.
Greece has demanded Ankara investigate the vandalism of a Greek flag on the island of Kastellorizo by suspected Turkish nationals, in an area which has become a flashpoint for tensions between the two countries.

On Saturday, a large mural displaying a Greek flag standing on a hill overlooking Kastellorizo port was found defaced with red paint, with Turkish nationals blamed for the act.

"We unequivocally condemn yesterday's desecration of the Greek flag in Kastellorizo. Unacceptable actions such as these are aimed at undermining the prospects for de-escalation of the tensions between the two countries," the Greek foreign ministry said in a statement, according Al Jazeera.

"We expect the immediate condemnation and the prompt investigation of the incident by the Turkish authorities, so that the perpetrators be brought to justice."

A Turkish TV station broadcast footage from a drone that showed "Turkish engineers" throwing "100 kilos of red paint on the Greek flag".

A drone fitted with speakers reportedly hovered over the island on Saturday playing the Turkish national anthem.

Kastellorizo is situated at the heart of tensions between Turkey and Greece, close to waters that saw the deployment of Turkish military vessels to escort a seismic exploration vessel last month.

Tensions between Athens and Ankara centre on disagreements regaeding economic maritime zones, which have been heightened following the discovery of gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Greece to help fix tensions between the two NATO allies.

France has strongly backed Greece in the dispute. 

Earlier this month, Pompeo warned against further escalation and called for dialogue between the opposing sides.

"Increased military tensions help no one but adversaries who would like to see division in transatlantic unity," he said.

"We remain deeply concerned by Turkey's ongoing operations ... the Republic of Cyprus has the right to exploit its natural resources including the right to hydrocarbons found ... in its exclusive economic zone," Pompeo added.


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