ATHENS, Greece -- Greece said Saturday it wants an apology and compensation from Turkey for a border clash in which three soldiers were killed and one seriously wounded in the most serious incident between the two NATO allies in more than a decade.
Officials said one Greek and two Turkish soldiers were killed and a Greek soldier wounded during the border clash Friday near the Greek town of Fere, about 250 miles northeast of Athens.
Government spokesman Antonis Courtis quoted the governor of the northern Greek Evros border region as saying he would hold talks to defuse the situation with his Turkish counterparts under two conditions.
'The Turkish side should extend an apology for its unacceptable and unprovoked violation of Greece's border, and it should also agree to pay compensation to the families of the two Greek soldiers,' Courtis quoted the governor as saying.
Foreign Undersecretary Yannis Capsis said he had summoned the Turkish Ambassador in Athens to the foreign ministry for a second time Saturday to deliver a protest, based on new information on the clash.
Capsis said that according to the wounded soldier, the dead soldier had responded to an invitation to exchange packs of cigarettes with the leader of a Turkish patrol across the Greek-Turkish border.
'The Greek soldier put down his rifle and took off his helmet and moved closer to hand over a packet of Marlboro cigarettes in exchange for Turkish ones,' Capsis said.
'He was then fired on by another Turkish soldier lying in ambush and camouflaged by reeds. ... A second volley of shots resulted in his death.'
A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman in Ankara said the exchange of fire took place after Greek troops entered Turkish territory. A Turkish commander said two Turks were killed.
Relations between Greece and Turkey have been strained since 1974, when Turkey responded to a pro-Greek coup on Cyprus by launching an invasion of the island.