Turkey warns Greece after flag is hoisted on disputed island

Turkish special forces on one of the disputed islets known as Kardak in Turkish and Imia in Greek. (AP Photo)
Updated 16 April 2018
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Turkey warns Greece after flag is hoisted on disputed island

  • Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that the Turkish coast guards had removed the flag from the island off the coast of the Aegean resort of Didim.
  • Yildirim said the incident was similar to one in 1996 when the two NATO allies nearly went to war over uninhabited islets — known as Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish.

Ankara: Turkey warned Greece on Monday to refrain from “provocations” after a Greek flag was hoisted on a disputed, uninhabited islet in the Aegean Sea off the Turkish coast.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that the Turkish coast guards had removed the flag from the island off the coast of the Aegean resort of Didim.
Yildirim said the incident was similar to one in 1996 when the two NATO allies nearly went to war over uninhabited islets — known as Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish — which both Turkey and Greece claim.
“Our advice to Greece would be to stay away from provocations and agitations,” Yildirim said adding that Turkey was “determined to give the necessary response” to such acts.
Despite two decades of efforts to improve relations, Greece and Turkey have seen a spike in tensions in recent weeks over disputed Aegean boundaries as well as over oil-and-gas drilling rights off the divided island of Cyprus.
Asked about the incident during a joint news conference with visiting the NATO chief, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu accused Greece’s defense minister — the outspoken leader of Greece’s nationalist party — of raising tensions in the Aegean Sea.
“His brattiness shouldn’t reach a level where it’ll damage relations between the two countries,” Cavusoglu said.
In Athens, Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzannakopoulos said the government had no knowledge of the incident and described the remarks by Yildirim as “provocative and reprehensible.”
“I think Mr. Yildirim should be more careful,” Tzannakopoulos said. “We call on Turkey to return to a path of respect for international law ... They should take an initiative to de-escalate the tension.”


Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

In this file photo taken on August 5, 2016, Andy Chan (R), leader of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), gives a press conference at the start of a rally near the government's headquarters in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

  • The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover

HONG KONG: Authorities in Hong Kong on Monday took an unprecedented step against separatist voices by banning a political party that advocates independence for the southern Chinese territory on national security grounds.
John Lee, the territory’s secretary for security, announced that the Hong Kong National Party will be prohibited from operation from Monday.
Lee’s announcement did not provide further details. But Hong Kong’s security bureau had previously said in a letter to the National Party’s leader, 27-year-old Andy Chan, that the party should be dissolved “in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” Chan had no immediate comment.
That letter had cited a national security law that has not been invoked since 1997. The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover. Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials have warned separatist activity would not be tolerated.
Chan, the National Party leader, had previously told The Associated Press that police approached him with documents detailing his speeches and activities since the party’s formation in 2016.
The party was founded in response to frustration about Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong. Despite a promise of autonomy, activists complain mainland influence over its democratic elections is increasing.
Chan and other pro-independence candidates were disqualified from 2016 elections to the Hong Kong legislature after they refused to sign a pledge saying Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. The Hong Kong National Party has never held any seats on the council.