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Turkish Coast Guard Vessels Enter Greek Waters Near Imia Island

© AP Photo / Mehmet GuzelTurkish Coast Guard vessel
Turkish Coast Guard vessel - Sputnik International
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The Greek navy and coast guard monitored that Turkish coast guard vessels entered Greek territorial waters near the disputed islet of Imia in the southeast Aegean, according to local media reports.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkish coast guard vessels entered Greek territorial waters near the disputed islet of Imia in the southeast Aegean, local media said Wednesday.

The breach was monitored by the Greek navy and coast guard, the Kathimerini newspaper reported.

The Aegean dispute has been a major source of tension between Greece and Turkey since the 1970s, bringing the two countries to the brink of military confrontation in 1987 and 1996. The dispute revolves around a set of issues involving the delimitation of territorial waters, airspace, demilitarized zones and the status several Aegean Sea islands.

Talks to resolve the issue began after 1999, when Turkey agreed to resolve the bilateral dispute as part of its accession deal with the European Union.

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The 1996 standoff was triggered by a dispute during a Turkish-Greek cargo ship salvaging operation on the Imia islet, which lies with around just 4.5 miles off the Turkish coast. Turkey claimed sovereignty over the islet for the first during the incident.

Tensions were again stoked last month, when a Turkish missile boat approached the islet before being blocked by the Greek coast guard. The incident took place after Greek Supreme Court’s ruling against the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers involved in a failed coup against the Turkish government last year.

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