Reports: Turkish vessels try to block frigate carrying Greek DM in Imia sea region

29 January 2018
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Two Turkish warships on Sunday reportedly attempted to block a frigate carrying Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos from reaching the spot where a Hellenic Navy helicopter went down in January 1996, near one of two of the now infamous Imia islets in the eastern Aegean.

Kammenos, who heads up a small rightist-populist party that props up once radical leftist SYRIZA in the current coalition government, was aboard a Hellenic Navy frigate that approached the specific sea region.

According to the Greek side, a Turkish navy patrol boat, a coast guard vessel and a Turkish helicopter were in the vicinity.

Critical press reports out of Athens later claimed that the vessel carrying Kammenos was blocked from reaching the islet, dubbed “Kardak” during a particularly tense standoff between the two countries 22 years ago.

A press release issued by the Greek defense ministry said the Greek warship reached the exact spot where the frigate-launched maritime support helicopter went down in inclement weather in late January 1996, at the height of the Imia crisis. The same report said the Turkish vessels tried to block the Greek frigate, identified as the “Nikiforos”, but were unsuccessful.

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