Athens plans to present a package of proposals to ease Aegean tensions in talks with Ankara on confidence building measures on February 17-21.
Kathimerini understands the Greek delegation’s package will include proposals regarding the reservation of sea areas for submarines, as Ankara’s practice of blocking large areas in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean has been a concern for Athens for a long time.
The issue has even been discussed at NATO level.
The package will also include a proposal for the activation of the hotline between the Hellenic Tactical Air Force Command headquarters in Larissa and Turkey’s First Air Force Command in Eskisehir, with the aim of allowing for direct communication in case of serious incidents involving the two countries’ military jets.
The package will moreover include proposed measures that will enable any incidents in the Evros border region to be resolved at the local government level.
The Greek delegation is also expected to raise the issue of navigational telexes (NAVTEX) by the Antalya Hydrographic Station that cancel out directives by Greece regarding the Eastern Mediterranean.
Furthermore, it will bring up the issue of violations of Greek air space and territorial waters, as well as Turkish overflights in the Aegean – with 78 recorded since the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, Greek and Turkish Defense Ministers Nikos Panagiotopoulos and Hulusi Akar met briefly on the sidelines of a NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday.
Panagiotopoulos reportedly stressed the need to keep channels of communication open, and for Turkey to refrain from actions that fuel tension.