Athens lodges two demarches with Ankara

Athens lodges two demarches with Ankara

Seeking to “leave no challenge unanswered,” Greece has lodged two demarches in as many days to protest a series of moves by Ankara in Greek territorial waters.

More specifically, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias instructed the Greek Embassy in Ankara on Monday to issue a protest demarche over illegal fishing by Turkish boats inside Greece’s territorial waters.

“Regrettably, Turkey persists with its illegal behavior,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Committed to defending its rights under international law, Greece will leave no challenge unanswered,” it said.

The first formal diplomatic note by Athens was issued on Sunday over the harassment by Turkish warships of the Maltese-flagged Nautical Geo research ship of French interests. The vessel was conducting research in an area east of the island of Crete in the context of mapping the possible course of the EastMed pipeline.

The Foreign Ministry said that Dendias “stressed the condemnable practice of Turkish Coast Guard vessels, which accompany Turkish fishing vessels and harass Greek fishing vessels.” Turkey, he said, was violating European law and continuing “its delinquent behavior.” 

The demarche concerned a series of incidents involving Turkish vessels reaching the coast of Kythira, the southern Peloponnese, the Cyclades and the eastern Aegean over the last several months. 

Meanwhile Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will head on Wednesday to New York for the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The government said there is currently no meeting on the cards between Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, government spokesman Yiannis Oikonomou said on Monday if there is such a request from the Turkish side, Athens will consider it positively.

“If Mr Erdogan extends his stay in the US, given that the prime minister will not be there sooner, and such a request is made, it will be examined diplomatically, and I think it will be examined and answered in the affirmative,” he said.

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