New Provocation: Turkey issues NAVTEX near Greek islands starting day before European Council Summit

Turkey will conduct live fire exercises in the maritime space of Greece’s sovereign rights between the islands of Rhodes and Kastellorizo after they issued a new NAVTEX today.

This particular NAVTEX, a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area, is especially provocative as it is dated for December 9 and 10, overlapping the European Council summit on December 10 and 11, where sanctions against Turkey will be discussed, albeit sanctions are unlikely to pass.

New Provocation: Turkey issues NAVTEX near Greek islands starting day before European Council Summit 1
Tiny Kastellorizo to the immediate east of Rhodes.

According to NAVTEX issued by the Attaleia (Ἀττάλεια, Turkish: Antalya) Antalya, the surveys will take place on December 20th.

Navtex in detail:

TURNHOS N / W: 1507/20 (Antalya NAVTEX Station) (Published Date: 04-12-2020 11:29) TURNHOS N / W: 1507/20
MEDITERRANEAN SEA
1 FIRING EXERCISE, FROM 090500Z DEC 20 TO 100700Z DEC 20 IN AREA BOUNDED BY; 36 50.00 N – 028 22.00 E
36 50.00 N – 029 08.00 E
36 08.00 N – 029 11.00 E
36 08.00 N – 028 24.00 E; -CAUTION ADVISED
2 CANCEL THIS MESSAGE 100800Z DEC 20.

Sanctions against Turkey are on the EU table

During a press conference given earlier by European Council President Charles Michel, he referred to the efforts made by the European side to find a solution, however, as he pointed out, Ankara continues to make unilateral moves.

New Provocation: Turkey issues NAVTEX near Greek islands starting day before European Council Summit 2
European Council President Charles Michel.

“We reached out to Turkey in October and our assessment is negative with the continuation of unilateral actions and hostile rhetoric,” he said.

“I believe that the cat-and-mouse game must stop,” Michel said, stressing that in order for the EU-Turkey dialogue to move forward, Ankara must “stop bilateral provocations, aggressive statements and disrespect to international principles and rules.”