A Greek and a Turkish warship were involved in a mild collision on Wednesday during a standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, in what a Greek defence source called an accident but Ankara described as a provocation.
Tensions between the NATO allies have risen this week after Turkey sent a survey vessel to the region, escorted by warships, to map out sea territory for possible oil and gas drilling in an area where Turkey and Greece both claim jurisdiction.
The Turkish Oruc Reis survey ship has been moving between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete, shadowed by a number of Greek frigates. On Wednesday one of them, the Limnos, was approaching the survey vessel when it came into the path of one of its Turkish naval escorts, the Kemal Reis.
The Greek frigate manoeuvred to avoid a head-on collision and in the process its bow touched the rear of the Turkish frigate, the defence source said, calling it a "mini collision."
"It was an accident," the source said, adding the Limnos was not damaged. It subsequently took part in a joint military exercise with France off Crete on Thursday morning, the person said.
The revelation came as Turkey today accused France of acting like a 'bully' in a row over disputed Mediterranean waters.