Greek authorities on Dec. 18 formally arrested a Turkish consular official on suspicion of spying, in a case likely to further strain relations between the two NATO allies.
Greek police last week detained two individuals on accusations that they photographed the movements of Greek armed forces in the Aegean Sea.
One of them was identified as Sebahattin Bayram, a Greek national employed as a secretary with the Turkish consulate on the island of Rhodes. The other individual is also a Greek national who was working as a cook on a passenger ship.
"One person was working at the Turkish consulate in Rhodes and the second man worked on a passenger ship which was operating the Rhodes-Kastelorizo line as a cook," a police official told Reuters.
Kastelorizo is a small Greek island just off the Turkish coast.
Greek media have reported that both individuals are members of Greece's Muslim minority based in the north of the country.
Turkish Foreign Ministry on Dec. 18 slammed Greece over the incident saying that Ankara will take the “necessary steps for the protection of the rights our personnel.”
"In the process that led to the arrest of our employee, who holds Greek nationality, Greece violated his freedom, security and respect for private and family rights in the framework of the European Convention of Human Rights and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," the ministry said.
Greece and Turkey have long running tensions, ranging from the divided island of Cyprus to exploration rights in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea. Tensions flared in August when Turkey sent a seismic exploration vessel into waters claimed by Greece.