Greek Fishermen Accuse Turkish Boats of Opening Fire off Leros Island



Greek fishermen have reported that they were fired upon by Turkish fishing boats near Kalapodi islet, 300 meters off the coast of Leros island.

Two Greek seamen, owners of fishing boats, spoke to Alpha television saying that the Turkish boats were inside Greece’s territorial waters on Sunday when their crews shot at them. They also said that, since July, Turkish fishing boats have repeatedly intruded upon Greek waters to fish in the area.

The Greek fishermen said that usually they call the coast guard upon seeing the Turkish boats; the intruders are forced to exit Greek waters upon the arrival of coast guard ships.

This time, however, Leros fisherman Kostas Tsiftis told Alpha, the crew of the Turkish boat fired gunshots at them. He also said that the gunfire was from an automatic weapon because some of the shots were repeated.

The Greek fishermen were forced to leave the area and called the Hellenic Coast Guard. Upon the arrival of two coast guard patrol vessels, the Turkish fishing boats moved towards international waters.

The fishermen noted that even though they are used to provocative acts by Turkish fishermen, Sunday’s incident was unprecedented.

“We heard six shots. The two of them, the third and the fourth, were repeated. The gun was neither a hunting rifle, nor a revolver,” said Lefteris Giannoukas, who was in one of the Greek boats.

“The Turkish fishermen were about 200 meters away. This is the first time that the Turks shot at us. Of course we were afraid, we did not expect it,” Tsiftis said.

The Greek fisherman noted that this is the first time the Turkish boats came this close.