The tension in the Aegean is on the rise once again, over the large-scale “Efes” and “Beyaz Firtina” military exercises carried out by Turkey.
As part of these exercises, Turkey has reserved large sections of the Aegean Sea, which in many cases is completely cutting off access to Greek islands and may even cause problems in air navigation. In the latest installment of the “war of the NOTAMs”, Turkey has reserved seven sections to carry out drills on Monday and Tuesday.
Turkey is focusing on the islands of Chios and Psara in an effort to dispute Greek sovereignty and demilitarize the region. Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Kotzias even expressed his concern over the possibility of Turkish aggression in a Sunday interview for the Kathimerini newspaper.
Greece responded to via an extensive Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) dated 11 May, underlining that permission will only be provided if Turkey clarifies where exactly the exercises will take place, since the currently plans will affect the operation ofairports on Chios and Lesvos.
In its response Turkey claimed that Greece is violating International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules and Turkish military aircraft will submit flight plans. Turkey also repeated that it does not recognize Greece’s “unprecedented and defiant practice of defining 6nm wide territorial waters and 10nm national airspace”.