Turkey warns Greece after flag is hoisted on disputed islet

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ANKARA: Turkey’s prime minister has warned Greece to refrain from “provocations” after a Greek flag was hoisted on a disputed, uninhabited islet in the Aegean Sea off the Turkish coast.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters Monday that the Turkish coast guards removed the flag from the island off the coast of the Aegean resort of Didim.

Yildirim said the incident was similar to one in 1996 when the two NATO allies went to war over the uninhabited Imia islets ? Kardak in Turkish ? which both Turkey and Greece claim.

Yildirim says “our advice to Greece would be to stay away from provocations and agitations … We are determined to give the necessary response to such fait accomplis.”

In Athens, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzannakopoulos said the government had no knowledge of the incident and described the remarks made by Yildirim as “provocative and reprehensible.”

“I think Mr. Yildirim should be more careful,” Tzannakopoulos said. “We call on Turkey to return to a path of respect for international law … They should take an initiative to de-escalate the tension.”—AP