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Turkey harasses research vessel off Crete; Greece responds with demarche

With a demarche Greece is to strongly protest the harassment of French research vessel “Nautical Geo” by Turkish vessels as well as and the issue of an irregular navtex that claims the continental shelf of Turkey reaches 6 nautical miles east of the island of Crete.

“This continued Turkish stance is completely unacceptable,” the Foreign Ministry in Athens said in a statement on Saturday announcing the planned demarche.

Turkish warships not only harassed the Maltese-flagged “Nautical Geo” research ship of French interests over the past few days, they also accosted the vessel  via radio (hailing), media reported.

Every time the research ship went beyond 6 nautical miles of Greece’s territorial waters it was harassed by Turkish warships.

“Nautical Geo” is conducting research in an area east of the island of Crete in the context of mapping the possible course of the EastMed pipeline.

Kathimerini had first revealed back on July 11 that the Turkish Navy was preventing Nautical Geo from proceeding with the exploration activities it was undertaking on behalf of the Greek state. This has resulted in the ship remaining in the wider area north of Crete.

The recent incidents came to light due to Greece’s issue of a Navtex for investigations between September 16 and 22 and an anti-Navtex issued by Turkey, according to which Athens has no jurisdiction outside the 6 nautical miles east of Crete.


Turkish Navex: Ankara claims it has “sovereign rights” in an specific area (marked red) “which is within the Turkish continental shelf”. Ankara adds that the area has been declared to the United Nations as part of the Turkish continental shelf in the context of the Turkey-Libya agreement through which Turkey tries to usurp sea zones of Greek sovereignty,” notes newspaper ProtoThema.

According to Turkey’s claims, Greek islands in the Aegean Sea have only 6 nautical miles territorial waters and no other continental shelf, while Turkish shelf reaches hundreds of miles away from its own mainland.

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  1. Greece’s immortal patience and tolerance to these provocations and attempted piracy is beyond admirable. Nor is this a sign of weakness than to the contrary.

    Greece does not want to burden the enormous cost of winning a war against this epileptic madman. However, the west should well know, from extensive past experience, that the consequences of inaction outweighs this emboldening complacency in hope that Turkey reenters the western fold. Its controlled and nationalistic media have only further toxified their rural audience of uneducated nationalists after their martyr driven dictator has jailed scores of judges, journalists, and academics.

    Nor should the west’s desperation for allies allow them to hide under NATO’s umbrella or store nuclear bombs at Incirlik. Who cares if removing them offends them, for one less thing to hide behind. The F35 sanctions did nothing, the stubborn lemming bought more S400s.

    A kindred and law abiding nation like Greece and for all it has contributed does not deserve the constant provocation from such a pirate state. The west is foolish to wait for another leader to be better, the Cyprus issue alone is already decades old with no changes for the better since its illegal invasion and occupation.

    • The problem for the west is that Turkey is the buffer between the EU and the instability in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. The last thing the EU (and NATO) want is Turkey becoming another Iraq and allowing all that instability to reach the frontier of the EU.

      I also think the west learned from the mistake of toppling Saddam Hussein in the way that we did. Is Iraq any safer now? Is Iraq more stable now? Is Iraq any more friendly to the west now?

      Regime change doesn’t work. Afghanistan has taught us that much very recently. The law of unintended consequences always interferes.

      I believe that it’s better to try and contain Erdogan in the way in which Greece is (nobly) doing, rather than attempting to directly oppose him, or worse, remove him. It’s my understanding that something like 50% of Turks currently oppose Erdogan, but if we make the country of Turkey an enemy then 100% of Turks will support him.

      We need to learn from history. Turkey under Erdogan is a pariah state, much as Iraq under Saddam Hussein was, but we need to try a new approach with Erdogan because what we tried in Iraq and Afghanistan does not work.

      I share your anger at the apparent inaction of the west in the face of clear Turkish provocation, but I think Greece is showing the world a better way to deal with a bully. It doesn’t produce instant results, it doesn’t satisfy our natural reaction to ‘do something’, but I suspect that in the long term it may prove to be more lasting and more effective.

      In any case, it’s clear that we can’t keep making the same mistakes, so I think trying something different is a wise move. Once again Greece is showing the way forward.

  2. “The main parts of the UN structure are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.”

    So who at the UN ever sanctioned this self-declaration? Another illegal declaration by a nation who’s illegally occupied territory is already not internationally recognized in Cyprus for decades.

    Are they provoking the policing of international law to this baiting or assured of no action being taken, given having been patronized for so long?

    Are they leaving any further lifting to the Hellenic Armed Forces in their efforts to destabilize the region by violating its borders? Their constant miscalculations at the border or at sea has failed them so far, let hope their last one is fatal and final to never reoccur again.

  3. Cyprus certainly was not treated like Kuwait and now look, they want half the sea in cooperation with their Muslim Brotherhood and proxy war in Libya.

    Sitting down? In Somalia wherfe they have a Muslim Al Quaeda poresence and al-Shabaab (meaning “The Youth” in Arabiic) still controls large parts of the rural areas seeking to establish a society based on its rigid interpretation of Shariah law, Turkey wants in. Their Ottoman aspirations reach to the extent of bribing Somalia by paying off part of its debt and other perks.

    “Turkey’s $30-million budget support to Somalia’s state-building effort is one of these instances and it means a lot to Somalia, which considers Ankara as one of its closest allies,” he told Arab News. It is Erdogan’s “stepping stone” into Africa.

    This is not getting any better. If Turkey abided by the ceasefire in 1974, they would not have taken so much territory in Cyprus during their illegal invasion. And since their illegal occupation and Turkish infestation, they now eye Varosha!

    This metastatic spread needs to be stopped at some point. And the later, the worst it will be.