Turkey to Conduct Research in Greek and Cypriot Waters

Turkey has issued a NAVTEX to conduct a Search and Rescue operation in an extensive area in the Central and Eastern Aegean Sea starting today (Thursday) until May 3.

The area the research will take place involves waters of Skyros, Psara and Lesvos and between Chios and Lesvos, an act that indicates Ankara intends to pursues a de facto operational division of the Aegean in the 25th meridian, according to an expert who spoke on Alpha television.

Athens and Nicosia are both in a state of alert after the new Ankara provocation as Turkish research vessel “Barbaros” is already conducting surveys off the northeastern part of Cyprus and has announced real fire drills and the dumping and towing of a submarine device by the Turkish Navy within the Cypriot EEZ.

Turkey exploits the difference in breadth between Greek territorial waters and national airspace, which is 6 nm and 10 nm respectively, stating, inter alia, in a reply to Greece’s NOTAM, that “the unprecedented and provocative practice of Greece with a definition of 6 nm at sea and 10 nm in the air is contrary to International Law and violates the right of free use of international airspace.”

At the same time the illegal activity of Turkish ships in the Cypriot continental shelf and EEZ continues, even in sea plots awarded after a tender to foreign companies that are about to start exploring for hydrocarbons in the near future.