Turkey’s tactic of challenging, at every opportunity, Greek sovereignty over a series of islets and rock islets, thus creating areas of turmoil and provocation, has been well known for years.

It is a policy which has intensified recently with constant provocative statements and actions – such as the arrest and imprisonment of two Greek army officers – that are incompatible with the fact that both countries are members of the same military alliance.

Yesterday’s statements by the Turkish prime minister about the islet Mikros Anthropofas, which lies southeast of the Fournoi islands, were along the same lines.

The Greek government categorically denied that there was any intervention by Turkish forces to remove the Greek flag, but the tension and propaganda war continues.

It is not buy chance that the alternate defence minister spoke of an undeclared war in the Aegean.

The given provocations of the Turks cannot be addressed with opportunistic, sensationalist moves by various irresponsible people who pretend to be protecting our national interests.

At a time when our neighbours are seeking a pretext to spark a military incident that could spin out of control, it is inane and dangerous for some people to play the role of super-patriots for no reason.

Nobody until today, at least publicly, had anyone challenged Greek sovereignty over the said islet, until some self-appointed guardians of our sovereign rights showed up.

The defence of our national interests is the responsibility and duty of the official leadership of the country and of the armed forces.

It is time for various hot-headed individuals to realise that irresponsibility and patriotism are incompatible.