Greek-Turkish Dispute Sparks Concerns Over Regional Stability

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Returning to terminology reminiscent of the period before February 6, 2023, and the easing of tensions in the Greek-Turkish relationship the Turkish authorities recently issued three consecutive demilitarization instructions for seafarers (NOTAM). These instructions were in response to an aeronautical exercise planned by Greece in the eastern and southeastern Aegean, specifically around Karpathos and the islands of Zafora, Hamili, Divounia, and Avgo.

The Greek side had informed through the NOTAM system about the exercise, as it falls within the Athens FIR, and a few days later, the Turkish authorities issued three anti-NOTAMs. Regarding Karpathos, the Turkish authorities referred to the Treaty of Paris of 1947, using the Turkish and Italian names for the island and claiming that these areas must be excluded from any military training or exercise scenario. The Turkish authorities also cited the "Decision of the 6 Powers of 1914" for the demilitarized regime of the islands of the Eastern Aegean and made similar claims for other islands such as Chios and Psara, referencing the Treaty of Lausanne.

According to reliable sources, the Turkish side has been gradually expressing its views on the demilitarization of the islands in the Eastern Aegean as a prerequisite for their sovereignty by Greece. The Turkish side has been conveying this message through various channels, including official notifications via NOTAM and diplomatic protests.

These recent developments are interpreted by Athens as Ankara's attempt to maintain its active positions during a period of substantial recession in the field. Additionally, they are seen as a message to Greece that the period of calm in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean cannot last indefinitely. The upcoming local elections in Turkey may also be a factor in these actions.

The Greek side is closely monitoring the situation and preparing for the next phase of the Greek-Turkish dialogue. The political dialogue is scheduled for March 11, with coordination between Deputy Foreign Ministers Alexandra Papadopoulou and Burak Aksapar. The next meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planned for the first half of May. In the meantime, there will be further Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and meetings between the undersecretaries of foreign affairs overseeing the positive agenda.


Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024