Russian Warship Fires a Turkish Fishing Boat in Aegean. War or Warning?

Turkish Fishing Boat

According to Xinhua, a Russian warship fired warning shots to avert a collision with a Turkish fishing boat in the Aegean Sea on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The defense ministry in Moscow said one of its warships, the destroyer Smetlivy, had been forced to fire the warning shots on Sunday morning and that it had summoned the Turkish military attache over the incident.

“The Turkish military diplomat was given a tough explanation about the potentially disastrous consequences from Ankara’s reckless actions towards Russia’s military contingent fighting against international terrorism in Syria,” the defense ministry said in a statement.

“In particular, our deep concerns about more Turkish provocations towards the Russian destroyer Smetlivy were conveyed.”

Earlier on Sunday, the ministry said that the Turkish fishing vessel failed to respond to Smetlivy’s warnings and changed course sharply only after shots were fired before passing within just over 500 meters of the warship.

“Only by luck was tragedy avoided,” the ministry said.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who was in Rome for talks on Libya, said Ankara was investigating the matter and would make a statement once it had more information, ABC noted.

He also reiterated Turkey’s position that it wanted to resolve its difficulties with Russia.

“We want to solve the tension with dialogue,” he said, in comments broadcast by TRT Turk.

The Turkish military attache promised to inform Ankara of Moscow’s representation about the incident.

The Turkish vessel was detected about 1 km away from the anchored Russian warship, and the crew was forced to fire warning shots when the distance between the two ships was about 600 meters.

The Turkish fishing boat sharply changed its course and passed by about 540 meters away from the vessel after the warning.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara worsened dramatically after Turkey shot down a Russian bomber near the Turkish-Syrian border late November over an alleged violation of its airspace. President Putin called the act a “stab in the back.”

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