October 18, 2020
Illegally and deliberately Turkey expanded the Search and Rescue responsibility area in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean Sea with a post on …Twitter on Saturday. The move not only covers areas of Greek and Cypriot jurisdiction areas, it also brings the Greek-Turkish dispute over maritime zones at a new, dangerous level as it puts at risk people’s lives.
Transportation Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said on a tweet: “We expanded our search and rescue responsibility area to include the search areas of our national ships operating in the Eastern Mediterranean. Congratulations on our new National Search and Rescue Plan to our country.” With ‘national ships” he clearly mentioned drilling and hydrocarbon vessels Fatih, Kanuni and Yavuz and noted that the expansion was in the context of the “Blue Motherland.
Fatih’e, Yavuz’a, Kanuni’ye selam olsun.✋#MaviVatanımızda arama ve kurtarma sorumluluk sahamızı, Doğu Akdeniz'de faaliyet gösteren milli gemilerimizin arama sahalarını kapsayacak şekilde genişlettik.
Yeni Ulusal Arama ve Kurtarma Planımız ülkemize hayırlı olsun. pic.twitter.com/EkDqxZaY1c
— Adil Karaismailoğlu (@akaraismailoglu) October 17, 2020
In the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the “new” Turkish SAR responsibility area expands south-east of the islands of Rhodes and all along the west of Cyprus and in based on the coordinates Ankara registered at the United Nations following the “maritime boundaries agreement with Libya.
In the Aegean Sea, Turkey maintains its ‘illegal’ so-called SAR responsibility area based on its Law of 1988, which divides the Aegean Sea into half, covering areas of Greek sovereignty and jurisdiction.
Note, that countries cannot deliberately expand their SAR areas without previous agreements with their neighboring countries.
Prompt was the response of the Greek Foreign Ministry that said the expansion is “illegal,” is not based on operational criteria and does not serve the safety purposes of human life.”
“The Greek area of responsibility, which has been defined in the 1950s by ICAO Regional Aviation Agreements and declared since 1975 to the competent International Maritime Organization (IMO), coincides with the Athens FIR and is in line with the IMO and ICA recommendations as included in the International Aeronautical and Naval Search and Rescue Manual (IAMSAR Manual). It is emphasized that in practice, Greece, through the competent Greek Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in Piraeus, effectively coordinates all search and rescue operations in its area of responsibility, providing services in this case to all ships and airplanes at risk,” The Greek FM said in a statement.
“It is clear that Turkey, with this latest move that has purely political motives, does not hesitate to cause confusion, endangering human lives. This move is added to the long list of Turkish arbitrariness and illegal claims in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, which are also responsible for the unprecedented escalation in recent times. Turkish actions will once again run counter to the international legitimacy with which Turkey must finally reconcile,” the statement stressed.
It is high time, the European Union takes very seriously Turkey’s provocations and act before it is too late.
PS One has to admit: Turkey never runs out of ideas when it comes to provocations.