Greek fishermen call on government to stop illegal Turkish fishing and “undeclared war”

by Aggelos Skordas

Greek fishermen of the Eastern Aegean islands appear in despair as incidents of violations by their Turkish colleagues who repeatedly violate the Greek territorial waters have dramatically increased. According to the Greek fishermen’s complaints, the presence of Turkish vessels in the Eastern Aegean is a daily phenomenon, while they lately expand their activities as far as the Thracian Sea.

On Wednesday 36 fishermen signed an extrajudicial legal document and sent it to the Shipping Ministry, the Hellenic Coast Guard headquarters and the Piraeus prosecutor’s office. The fishermen call on the Greek authorities to take action against their Turkish colleagues. As they say, “Turkish fishermen fish in Greek territorial waters undisturbed by the Coast Guard” while adding that they find themselves “in an uneven undeclared war with Turkish fishermen and Turkish patrol boats that are assisting them in illegal fishing”.

The Greek fishermen claim that Turkish vessels “undisturbed plunder the Greek seas by taking advantage of the fact that they had never been arrested even when the Coast Guard fleet caught them fishing within our territorial waters in violation of Article 401 of the Penal Code”.

Speaking to Thema Radio the Secretary-General of the Alexandroupolis Fishermen’s Union Panagiotis Karavetis describes the situation: “The problem extends throughout the Eastern Aegean. The Turk has to stop at six nautical miles and in Lemnos, they reach up to three miles from the coasts, while in the islet of Zourafa they go up to two-tenths of a mile from its sores. There is no reaction. The Coast Guard comes sometimes but does nothing more than a visual contact with the Turks.”

Last month two Greek fishermen reported that Turkish counterparts opened fire against them near Kalapodi islet, 300 meters off the coast of Leros.