More than fifteen dolphins have been found dead in the Aegean Sea since the end of February, Greece’s ”Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation” disclosed recently.
The issue has already gone viral around the world, with members of the Institute claiming that Turkey, most likely unwillingly, has played a role in the very unfortunate deaths.
Anastasia Miliou, the head of research at the Institute, says that the surprising number of dead dolphins coincides with one of Turkey’s largest military exercises, which took place in the Aegean Sea between February 27 and March 8.
More than one hundred vessels were in the region, and many of them used sonar signals during the exercise.
Sonar is extremely painful to dolphins and the mammals always try to escape from the sound waves. They either become deaf by means of the sound waves, or in trying to escape, they end up on beaches, where they die.
NATO has already acknowledged the damage sonar can cause to animals in the sea, and for this reason, the military alliance has already adopted a code of conduct when it comes to sonar use.
It is unknown, however, whether Turkey — a NATO member itself — adheres to these rules.
The Greek and American navy, which have a wide presence in the Aegean Sea, do adhere by the sonar rules, as it is now part of their military policy and culture not to harm mammals inside a country’s territorial waters.
The Institute is calling on the Greek government to raise the issue with Turkey in future meetings between the two sides.
Their recent statement notes, “Our common goal should not only be to secure national sovereignty, but also to safeguard our national integrity, as it is not possible to destroy our natural resources intentionally or unintentionally during the exercises in time of peace.”