A Turkish vessel opened fire against a Greek Cypriot police coast guard that was conducting a routine patrol in the Kato Pyrgos Tylliria coast, Greek Cyprus authorities said on July 16.
Police spokesperson Christos Andreou said the small boat with three crew members on board was conducting a patrol in the early morning, around 3:30 a.m., in response to illegal or undocumented migration in the area, Kathimerini Cyprus reported.
“While it was out about 11 nautical miles, it was approached by a Turkish coast guard vessel with aggressive intentions,” Andreou said, adding that the small vessel turned back toward the fishing pier in Kato Pyrgos to avoid any incident.
“At one point, about 4 miles, the Turkish coast guard vessel fired warning shots towards the marine police vessel,” the spokesperson said, adding the Greek Cypriots reached the pier while the Turks left the area.
Greek Cyprus government spokesperson Marios Pelekanos said that there was no violation on the part of the marine police vessel “since it was located at 11 nautical miles, which is within the permitted area.”
“There is no excuse for this behavior by the Turkish vessel. Marine police were simply conducting a routine patrol,” Pelekanos said, adding that all the necessary information was being gathered in order to report the incident to the United Nations.
It was not clear whether the Turkish vessel came close or had any radio communication with the Greek Cypriot boat during the incident.