On Saturday, Ankara extended the current illegal NAVTEX that has a seismic vessel called Oruc Reis, researching inside Greek territorial waters south of Kastellorizo and accompanied by Turkish Navy ships.
The NAVTEX that has the Turkish ships moving south and southeast of Kastellorizo expires on Monday. It was extended through November 29.
The Greek Foreign Ministry replied with an official statement, condemning the Turkish action:
“Turkey today issued a new illegal NAVTEX, announcing the continuation of its illegal seismic research, for the November 21-29 period, in an area that covers the Greek continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean, continuing to violate International Law of the Sea and undermining peace, security, and stability in the region,” the statement says inter alia.
The Greek Navy responded to the illegal Turkish NAVTEX by issuing the following anti-NAVTEX:
211130 UTC NOV 20
IRAKLEIO STATION NAVWARN 711/20
SOUTHEAST CRETAN SEA
1. UNAUTHORIZED STATION HAS BROADCAST NAVTEX MESSAGE NUMBER FA64-1460/20, THAT REFERS TO ILLEGAL ACTIVITY IN AN AREA INCLUDING GREEK TERRITORIAL SEA, WHERE GREECE HAS THE EXCLUSIVE AUTHORITY TO BROADCAST NAVTEX MESSAGES. THIS NAVTEX AREA ALSO OVERLAPS GREEK CONTINENTAL SHELF AND FALLS WITHIN HELLENIC NAVTEX SERVICE AREA WHERE IRAKLEIO NAVTEX STATION HAS THE AUTHORITY TO BROADCAST NAVTEX MESSAGES.
2. ALL MARINERS ARE REQUESTED TO DISREGARD NAVTEX MESSAGE NUMBER FA64-1460/20.
3. CANCEL THIS MESSAGE 292059 UTC NOV 20.
Turkish Defense Minister Disputes Greek Territorial Waters
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar raised the issue of “gray zones” in the Aegean once again, claiming that there are islands the sovereignty of which was never given to Greece.
According to a Kathimerini newspaper correspondent in Turkey, Akar referred to the work of seismic vessel Oruc Reis inside Greece’s continental shelf, during his visit to the Turkish Aerospace Industry (TUSAS).
“We are researching openly, it is obvious. We are not hiding anything. We do scientific and technical work. Our ships continue their work. It is immoral to present these tasks as provocation or as raising tension,” the Turkish defense minister said.
“It has nothing to do with ethics,” Akar continued. “They overlook their moves and actions on islands that in no way the sovereignty has been given to Greece, and present the technical and scientific work we do as a provocation. That’s not appropriate in a good neighborly relationship.”
Akar also referred to the Cyprus issue and stressed that, “In Cyprus they must acknowledge and accept the presence of Turkish people, who are there for many centuries. They must grant them their rights. In regards to equality and sovereignty, they must accept the present conditions.”