Greece accuses Turkish press of espionage in row over Aegean island

The Greek press has accused Turkish journalists of “espionage” after Anadolu Agency (AA) captured evidence of Greece’s militarization of the island of Pserimos (Keçi), 8 kilometers (5 miles) southwest of Turkey’s Bodrum peninsula, revealing its deployment of soldiers.

The Dodecanese islands group in the Aegean Sea contains several rocky areas, islets and islands with yet-undetermined status. Pserimos, which is located between the Greek islands of Kos and Kalymnos, is the closest island to the Turgutreis neighborhood in the southwestern resort city of Bodrum.

The Kathimerini newspaper claimed in its headline that the “Turkish press is watching Pserimos Island” while the Logos newspaper said that “Anadolu Agency the limits of provocation by observing Pserimos Island” under the headline “The Turkish press has exaggerated again.”

AA’s journalistic activities were described as “espionage” by the Greek media on the internet, with headlines such as “New provocation from Turkey: Anadolu Agency is spying on Pserimos Island.”

Greek social media users, meanwhile, made provocative and targeted comments on Twitter, where AA General Manager Serdar Karagöz congratulated reporters Ayşe Yıldız and Ali Ballı.

Pserimos, which is supposed to remain uninhabited and demilitarized according to international law, hit the headlines with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ recent visit to the island.

Mitsotakis shared a photo of the Greek flag drawn on the island on his social media account.

Gürsel Tokmakoğlu, a retired senior air force officer and security analyst, examines the military deployment on the Aegean island of Pserimos (Keçi), June 22, 2022. (AA Photo)

The AA footage captured Greek troops and heavy weapons deployed on the island.

In the footage, a helipad, four prefabricated buildings, guard and watch towers, transmitters, water tanks and solar panels can clearly be seen.

Greek soldiers are seen in their military camouflage around stone structures resembling trenches or shelters.

Also, Greek artillery batteries, though covered, can be spotted around a Greek flag drawn on the land.

Gürsel Tokmakoğlu, a retired senior air force officer and security analyst, said Pserimos is a Turkish island due to its proximity to the Turkish mainland under Article 12 of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.

Tokmakoğlu told AA that Greece wants to claim Pserimos by deploying troops and heavy weapons on the Turkish island, which is a clear violation of international law.

The facilities and the weapons should not be on the island as is stipulated in the Treaty of Lausanne, I have noted.

“Building a facility at a point just across Turkey, putting a (Greek) flag on an area where it can be seen by fishermen and tour boats sailing from Turkey actually constitutes a provocation,” he argued.

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