Greek-Turkish Relations
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Exclusive! Athens "took its time" and responded after two days to the Turkish challenge to its sovereignty in Farmakonisi

Two days later came the response from Athens to the Turkish NOTAM which, on the occasion of the search and rescue operation of migrants and refugees in Farmakonisi, questioned the Greek jurisdiction and called the participants to follow the orders of the Turkish authorities, despite the fact that the focus of the searches was only 121 meters from the coast of the Greek island and therefore clearly within Greek territorial waters.

Athens, therefore, with the NOTAM A0183/24, issued two days after the Turkish one, in response to the revisionist directive to the officials of Ankara, points out the obvious for the majority of the international community but not for Turkey.

That the NOTAM issued by Turkey is invalid as it refers to search and rescue within the Athens FIR where the only competent authority to issue NOTAMs, in accordance with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) regulations, is the Greek Civil Aviation Authority.

It also notes that the Search and Rescue area under Greek jurisdiction and responsibility coincides with the Athens FIR as decided by the Istanbul 1950, Paris 1952 and Geneva 1958 agreements. Agreements accepted by the participating states including Turkey. The Greek NOTAM stresses in particular that the area described in the instruction to airmen issued by Athens in order to conduct the search and rescue operation is located within Greek territory, Greek territorial waters and Greek airspace where Greece exercises sovereignty in accordance with international law.

"As in the past, the misinterpretation of the Turkish authorities and the distortion of the letter and spirit of international instruments, as regards search and rescue responsibilities, are rejected by Greece, as they may lead to serious institutional and practical complications in the conduct of search and rescue operations", the Greek NOPTAM emphasizes, concluding that Greece has been providing effective search and rescue services within its area of responsibility since the creation of such areas...

According to information from coastguard sources, yesterday the searches by water and air were stopped due to the turbulence in the area and continued only along the coast of Farmakonisi. Fortunately, it was stormy and the Turks did not dare to come out to search for castaways at 121 meters from the coast of Farmakonisi because otherwise at this moment we might have had a sudden Greek-Turkish tension that would disturb the "quiet" waters of the Athens Declaration.


The fact that Athens responded to the Turkish provocative NOTAM that directly challenged not only Greek sovereign rights but also Greek sovereignty just 121 meters from the coast of Farmakonisi should mobilize the competent authorities as such actions should not be left unanswered even for a moment. Unless someone has decided either to share the Aegean to the detriment of the country or to consider the NOTAMs and NAVTEX as something unimportant and to remember them like the "I do not forget" of Cyprus which has not only been forgotten but has unfortunately become a more picturesque phrase than the picturesque streets of the old town of Nicosia which, divided, are now a tourist attraction and not a wound in the heart of Hellenism. The conclusions are yours...


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