Just a few hours after Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias was invited by his counterpart to visit Turkey next month, Turkish authorities issued a series of navigational telexes (navtexes) Wednesday, reserving areas in the central and eastern Aegean.
Athens views the reservation of areas in the Aegean by Turkey – as well as the almost daily violations of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and Greek national air space by Turkish fighter jets – as an indirect expression of Ankara’s claims within Greek territorial waters.
Wednesday’s navtexes reserved areas in international waters between the islands of Chios and Icaria for Wednesday afternoon, as well as areas between Lesvos and Chios, and between Skyros, Psara, Evia and Andros for today to conduct military exercises with live ammunition.
They also reserved an area south of Kastelorizo in the southeastern Aegean, which includes a part of Greece’s exclusive economic zone, for Wednesday afternoon to tow an underwater device. Moreover, Turkey appears to have established an almost permanent naval presence between Kastelorizo and Cypriot territorial waters – part of which Ankara believes lies under its jurisdiction.
Despite Turkey’s stance, sources in Athens say they believe the meeting in October between Kotzias and Mevlut Cavusoglu could boost efforts to reunify Cyprus and will help lay the groundwork to establish new lines of communication between Athens and Ankara.