The Hellenic Air Force and Navy have issued a counter-NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) in response to Ankara’s NOTAM, which had tied up the heart of the Aegean for two months for live fire exercises, through the end of April, including during the period of Greek Orthodox Easter.
With the Greek NOTAM, number A0585/18, the Air Force and the Navy are tying up areas over the entire breadth of the Aegean and east of the island of Crete, for live fire exercises during various periods between 6 March and the end of April.
Athens is thus tying its national airspace and a portion of the Athens FIR (flight information region), which Greece administers based on the Convention on International Civil Aviation, known as the Chicago Convention.
With its earlier NOTAM, Turkey tied up the Aegean even for the 25 March National Independence Day and Greek Orthodox Good Friday.
That is in violation of the 1988 Papoulias –Yilmaz accord, which has largely but not always been implemented since then, in which the two sides agreed not to conduct exercises on each other’s main religious and national holidays. The accord also provided that regions would not be isolated and that the manoeuvres will not be very protracted.
Meanwhile, the US issued a Navtex for the region of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), where Washington has sent Sixth Fleet ships for joint exercises with Israel. The US warships’ presence in the area, not coincidentally, overlaps with an ExxonMobil oil and gas exploration drilling in Block 10 of Cyprus’ EEZ, and a no-fly zone will be in effect while they are there.