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Turkey accuses Greek military of harassing research ship

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Turkish government accused Greece’s military Tuesday of harassing a Turkish research vessel in the Aegean Sea and said Turkey’s military had responded to the alleged intimidation.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that four Greek F-16 fighter jets harassed the TCG Cesme south of the Greek island of Lemnos, with one of them dropping a flare 2 nautical miles (3.7 kilometers) from the vessel. The news agency said Turkey’s military retaliated but it did not say how or when the incident took place.

“It was an act of harassment, which our Greek neighbors carry out frequently,” Anadolu quoted Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar as saying. “We gave the necessary response in line with rules.”

There was no immediate comment from Greece.

Turkey dispatched the TCG Cesme in international waters of the Aegean until March 2 to do hydrographic surveying. Greece described the deployment as a provocative act.

Akar said the vessel was dispatched to conduct scientific research concerning earthquakes, which are frequent in the region.

The move came weeks after Greece and Turkey, which are NATO allies, resumed talks aimed at resolving long-standing disputes, including over energy rights.

Turkish and Greek officials met in Istanbul on Jan. 25 to discuss the bilateral disputes after a five-year break. The talks followed months of tensions between Greece and Turkey over conflicting claims to energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

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