Turkish restriction on ships threatens island economies

Turkish restriction on ships threatens island economies

The economies of the Aegean islands, especially those neighboring the western shores of Anatolia, are set for difficult times ahead after Turkey issued a ban – taking effect on October 12 – on Turkish passenger and commercial ships from arriving at Greek ports.

Local authorities say the ban could lead to the cancellation of excursions, cruises and conferences and other agreements signed months in advance by local businessmen on Lesvos, Samos and Chios with Turkish agents.

The ban was announced Monday by Turkish Maritime Minister Ahmet Arslan in response to a crackdown by Greek coast guard authorities on unlicensed cruises to islands by Turkish-flagged vessels in the southern Aegean. On Monday, Turkey banned Turkish-flagged commercial yachts from sailing to Greece with immediate effect.

The Shipping Ministry said Wednesday it is open to dialogue with Turkey as long as Greek laws are respected with regard to the illegal use of tourist vessels.

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