Greece calls on Turkey to condemn flag vandalism 'insult'

The incident comes after tension flared between Greece and Turkey over disputed waters in the Mediterranean last month

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Athens on Sunday called on Turkey to condemn and investigate what it said was an insult to its national flag on the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

A rendition of the blue and white flag painted on a rocky hillside appeared on Saturday to have been defaced with red paint.

“We blatantly condemn yesterday’s insult of the Greek flag on Kastellorizo,” the Greek foreign ministry said.

“We expect Turkish authorities to immediately condemn and investigate the incident, so that the culprits are brought before justice,” it said. “Such unacceptable actions only seek to torpedo prospects for easing tensions between the two countries.”

Kastellorizo is in the Eastern Mediterranean, close to the coast of Turkey, and the flag is said to be visible from the country’s mainland. Greek police were investigating, an official said.

A drone equipped with a loudspeaker playing the Turkish national anthem was flown over the island on Saturday, Greek media reported.

Greece and Turkey disagree on many matters, including where their boundaries lie on the Aegean continental shelf. Hostility rose last month when Ankara sent a seismic survey ship into disputed waters, escorted by gunboats, to map out sea territory for possible oil and gas drilling in an area thought to be rich in energy resources.

A Turkish and a Greek warship collided during the stand-off. Since then, Turkey has recalled the Oruc Reis survey ship and the countries have agreed to resume exploratory talks.