Turkey on Sunday delivered a démarche to Greece to protest the death of a Turkish national by shots fired from Greece on an islet in the Maritsa River, which constitutes part of the border between Turkey and Greece, Turkish media reported on Monday.
The chargé d’affaires of the Greek Embassy in Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and given a note of protest on the incident.
The Greek chargé was notified of Turkey’s demand for an investigation into the incident and was told that the perpetrators must be apprehended and punished so that similar incidents can be prevented, diplomatic sources said.
Turkey also said it reserves the right to seek compensation for the family of the victim.
The Greek Foreign Ministry denied Turkey’s allegations in a statement issued on Sunday.
Following the ministry’s instructions, the Greek chargé d’affaires in Ankara rejected in their entirety “the Turkish claims regarding an alleged incident in Evros,” according to the statement.
“She pointed out to the Turkish side the obligation of the latter to guard its borders and not allow human [smuggling] and illegal migration,” it said.
Mehmet Durgun, 44, and his friend Ş.Ş. had gone to an islet in the Maritsa on Saturday, reportedly to take boats left behind by migrant smugglers, and Durgun died from bullet to the head fired from the Greek side, the Demirören news agency reported. S.Ş. claimed they were not on the Greek side of the river when the incident occurred.
Emrullah Özgün, the headman of Durgun’s hometown, had told reporters that Durgun and Ş. Ş. were attacked while they were sitting by the side of the river, the Anadolu news agency reported.
The Maritsa River is a popular route for people seeking asylum in Europe, in particular members of the Gülen movement trying to flee a government crackdown in Turkey after a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.