On Tuesday, Turkey’s Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan, banned Turkish leisure boats from reaching the Greek islands; with which they are mainly interconnected, during the summer months.
According to an Independent Balkan News Agency report, the decision comes as a response to the seizure of Turkish ships by Greek authorities, for violation of specific international provisions, and since they did not have the necessary rescue means. Eleven ships have been seized by Greek authorities, due to fines for breaches of international maritime transport.
The Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, reported that a directive has already been sent to Turkey’s port authorities, and the ban will apply to leisure crafts from September 25, and for passengers ships from October 12. Tourist companies have been notified as well.
If the decision is implemented, Greek tourist ships will not be able to reach the ports of Turkey, either.
Speaking to TRT, Aslan said that, “The fact that Greece has begun investigating and confiscating such small vessels, under 24m, citing violation of rules, jeopardizes the “white flag” status of Turkey. It is something that can not be accepted. We will not allow the departure to Greece as long as the country keeps this stance”, the IBNA report says.
However; Aslan noted that he will discuss the issue with his Greek counterpart when he visits Greece on October 12, the day the ban for passenger ships is to go into effect.