Russian navy ships engage Turkish vessel in Black Sea

Russian energy company Chernomorneftegaz claims that Turkish commercial vessel was forced to change its direction by Russian military ship and coast guard in Black Sea

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish fishing boat Geciciler Balikcilik, which was allegedly upon fired by a Russian destroyer in the Aegean Sea on Dec. 13, 2015, was anchored at Turkey's Aegean Province of Canakkale

Russian energy company Chernomorneftegaz claimed on Monday that a Turkish commercial vessel was forced to change its direction by a Russian warship and a coast guard boat in the Black Sea.

The incident allegedly happened because the Turkish commercial ship approached an oil drilling platform off the Ukrainian port city of Odessa in international waters, according to a statement from the company.

After the Turkish ship changed its course, the convoy of the boats belonging to the company continued to tow oil rigs off the Crimean Peninsula, the company claimed.

On Sunday, a Russian destroyer named Smetlivy reportedly fired shots at a Turkish fishing boat in the Aegean Sea, close to the Greek island of Lemnos, after which the Putin administration summoned Ankara’s military attache in Moscow.

The Russian Defence Ministry issued a statement following the incident claiming that the Turkish vessel changed its direction after the Russian warship fired at it due it being at a distance of about 500 meters from the Russian warship.

However, the owner of the Turkish vessel Geciciler Balikcilik, has flatly denied the Russian claims, saying that his boat and the Russian warship were at a distance of at least 1 mile (1.6 km).

A subsequent Russian statement has also tried to link the incident in the Aegean with Russia’s "counterterrorism tasks in Syria" accusing Turkey of "reckless actions" against "the Russian military contingent" in the country.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded to the incident, saying it had been exaggerated by the Russians.

“We are in favour of overcoming tension through dialogue,” he added.

Turkey and Russia have been at odds in a political disagreement over the Syrian conflict which escalated after Turkey downed a Russian warplane over violating its airspace on Nov 24.

The incident has caused a political crisis between the countries, which have strong economic ties, and has led Turkish and Russian leaders to issue warnings to one another.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry recently summoned Andrey Karlov, the Russian Federation’s ambassador to the country, over the "provocative" passing of one of its warships through the Bosphorus on Dec.4.

TRTWorld and agencies