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Aegean Sea, en route to Piraeus, 6:30 am. Time lapse photo: Manos Gkika

Tensions rising in the Aegean Sea

This week, the Greek navy deployed ships and announced "enhanced preparations" in the wake of recent Turkish maritime activities linked to gas exploration.

Published: July 25, 2020, 11:58 am

    Athens

    “Navy units have been deployed since yesterday [Tuesday] in the south and south-east of the Aegean Sea,” a Greek military source said on Wednesday, speaking to AFP. These units “are ready to respond to any activity,” added the officer.

    Greek sailors have been instructed to ignore a maritime navigation restrictions decreed by Turkey as Athens denounced “an escalation of tension” in the region.

    In Brussels, Nabila Massrali, spokesperson for the EU, complained that Turkey was sending “the wrong message” with regard to Turkish-European relations.

    Turkey “must make an unequivocal commitment to good neighborly relations, [the application] of international agreements and the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with the UN charter”, she told reporters.

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    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

      The deployment could be in response to Turk encroachments on Greece’s EEZ, or to bolster existing Greek navy and coast guard defenses for its Aegean islands, especially Lesbos, Chios, and Samos, These and other islands have been continually targeted by the “migrant express” that brings in illegal migrants from the Turkish coast on an almost daily basis. They are provided boats and other aid by organized crime gangs that work with local Turkish authorites, and the boats are shadowed by Turkish naval craft until they get to Greek waters. Of course, the plus-up to Greek maritime deployment could be to help counter both threats. After all, both are part of an aggressive, increasingly confrontational, policy against Greece by Turkey’s Erdogan, driven by the latter’s neo-Ottoman regional ambitions.

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