A Turkish fisherman and his crew were harassed by the Hellenic Coast Guard while fishing in international waters, a video recorded during the incident shows.
Ilker Özdemir said Thursday that he was fishing in international waters off Turkey's Gökçeada island located a few miles from Greece's Samothrace island.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Özdemir said they make a living by fishing around Gökçeada, which sits off the coast of Turkey's northwestern Çanakkale province, adding they were in an area known as the Giraffe Cliffs, which is in international waters.
"This region is located 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) off the Greek island of Samothrace. It is in international waters. These are waters that we should all use," he said.
"The Greek Coast Guard boat came near us while we were fishing. They came before as well, but we never took a video of it. We launched a YouTube channel recently and we had cameras this time. We took a video of the incident. They harass us regularly. They scare us, and they even pulled a gun on us in the past," said Özdemir.
He said they called the Turkish Coast Guard Command immediately and its teams intervened in a very short time.
Özdemir said the Greek coast guard team who harassed them had said the fishermen were in Greek waters, however, his crew also recorded the coordinates, which show that the boat was indeed in international waters.
"They threatened to shoot us, sink our boat. But we refused to go. We were fishing for about two to three hours and then we returned. They returned to their waters and watched us the whole time," he added.
The two neighbors and NATO allies are at odds over a number of issues such as competing claims over territorial waters in the Aegean Sea and jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, air space, energy, the ethnically split island of Cyprus and the status of islands in the Aegean.
Offshore exclusive economic zones are maritime areas agreed on between neighboring states, defining where a country has commercial rights such as the right to explore for hydrocarbons. Those zones can extend to up to 200 nautical miles from a shoreline, or, if sharing the sea area with another state, the equidistance between the two.
But in the case of Greece and Turkey, the issue is complicated by disputes over the extent of their continental shelves and the limit of their territorial waters. The dispute has held up any declaration by Greece to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles from 6 miles in the Aegean.