One of the three young men who hoisted a Greek flag on the rock islet Mikros Anthropofas, near the Fournoi islands, says that he and his comrades acted to honour fallen pilot Yorgos Baltadoros, whose fighter jet crashed into the Aegean off of Skyros on 12 April, after being called to intercept Turkish war planes.

“We decided suddenly over coffee to do it. We hoisted flags and first threw a wreath in the sea to honour Baltadoros,” said Haralambos Tsagalas, who was born and raised on Ikaria’s Fournoi island.

“We started out on Friday [13 April] at 11am and placed the first flag on Mikros Anthropofagos [the modern version of anthropofas, literally small man-eater], then another on Megalos Anthropofagos, then on Aspronisi, on Makronisi, and finally on Petrokaravo. We finished at 4pm,” he explained.

Tsagalas and his friends went the next day to see if the flags were still there, and all five were.

“We had no political motivations. We are not Golden Dawn members. We did it for the flag and our country, not to provoke the Turks, regardless of what they may have done,” he clarified.

“Our message to Turkey is peace to them,” he concluded.