Turkish coastguard shoots at a Cypriot Port Police patrol

This episode generates more tension in the conflict in the eastern Mediterranean
Turkish conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean

REUTERS/MURAD SEZER  -   Turkish conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean

Turkish coastguards fired at a Cyprus Port Police boat while patrolling near Kato Pyrgos Tylliria on Thursday morning, Cypriot media reported on Friday.

The incident reportedly took place at around 03:30 local time (00:30 GMT) during a routine patrol by the Greek Cypriot Port and Naval Police to monitor the arrival of migrant boats from Turkey.

The small Greek Cypriot boat, carrying three officers, spotted a Turkish Coast Guard vessel about 11 nautical miles from the port of Kato Pyrgos Tyllirias, in the northwest of the island, so they tried to move away and headed towards the Tylliria fishing shelter, but the Turkish vessel started chasing them and fired four shots in their direction.

The daily Politis indicated that the shots were fired in the air and were not aimed at the boat, and that no injuries or damage were caused, but were "a warning".

El presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan
PHOTO/Presidential Press Service via AP - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

National Guard spokesman Christos Pieris told the press that "the Ministry of Defence is monitoring the situation and it is possible that action will be taken after the police are fully informed about the incident".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been informed of the incident, and although Cypriot media sources in the Ministry of Defence say that there is no intention to militarise what happened, the aggression has been received in Cyprus as a provocation by Turkey just four days before its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visits the occupied north to mark the anniversary of the military occupation.

For 47 years Turkish troops have occupied the northern part of Cyprus, an island that remains divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.