A new NAVTEX was issued by Turkey’s authorities for research lasting 6 months (until June 2021), but which delimits areas that are clear, within the Turkish territorial waters.
However, officials from the Ministry of National Defense do not rule out the possibility that Turkey may send a floating drilling rig to some of the areas where the investigations have already been completed, most likely the area in the tri-national area between Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.
Of course, an even more provocative decision by Turkey for drilling near the Kastellorizo archipelago is not ruled out despite the NAVTEX.
The new Turkish NAVTEX is accompanied by provocative statements by the Turkish Minister of Defense.
Hulusi Akar claimed that the Greece does not have “good neighborly behavior” because of the new NAVTEX issued for conducting exercises and trainings of the Armed Forces.
Akar’s “annoyance” became more specific when Turkish F-16 fighter jets made low overflights over the rocky islet of Panagia and Oinousses.
However, Athens’ message to Ankara remains stable in spite of constant provocative NAVTEX announcements.
Dialogue, aimed at easing the crisis, cannot be done with threats, blackmail and illegal activities in the region, except with absolute adherence to the rules of international law.
However, as the Greek-Turkish crisis does not seem to be easing (unless the Greek government is “dragged” into dialogue with Turkey, with an agenda to be determined by Ankara), the Ministry of National Defense is preparing for 18 French-made Rafale fighter jets to be part of the Air Force.
This development has alarmed Ankara with the Turkish media “going off the rails” claiming that the air balance in the Aegean sky is changing.
As it became known and officially announced in the Parliament, the Rafale fighter jets will arrive in Greece with full equipment and modern missiles that give great operational advantages in air combat and aerial bombardment.
We must point to an emerging reality.
The area, for conducting Turkish aeronautical exercises and exercises with live fire, as delimited by the Turkish NAVTEX and NOTAM, is beyond 6 nm from the coasts of Rhodes and marginally from the coasts of Kastellorizo.
But it is in such a way that to try and interrupt the continuation of Greek sovereignty in the southeastern Aegean, since the island complex of Kastellorizo is surrounded by the Turkish continental shelf which Ankara tries to delimit.
The obvious goal of Ankara, to be accepted by the international community, is that the area east of Rhodes, including Kastellorizo, is not Aegean, but belongs to the Mediterranean.
And this is important, because since 1964 Turkey has defined by law 6nm of territorial waters in the Aegean, but 12nm in the Mediterranean.
The statements of Haiko Maas
Greek diplomacy should not be surprised by the statements of German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas.
Germany opposes Greece’s request for an arms embargo on Turkey.
Speaking to Deutsche Presse-Agentur, German Foreign Minister Haiko Maas said:
“I do not consider it right to call for an arms embargo against Turkey. It is not easy to do this against a NATO partner. We saw that NATO ally Turkey easily bought missiles from Russia because it could not buy from the United States.”
We point out that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had asked the European Council to impose an embargo of offensive weapons, which European war industries (Germany, Spain, Italy), sell to Turkey despite potential it can be used against an EU member state.
The Greek request was not accepted by our European partners, perhaps because European foreign and armaments policies are far removed from principles and values, as they succumb to the “charm” of diverse common interests.