There has been no change in the existing boundaries of Greece and Turkey’s search and rescue region or responsibilities in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, Greek news agency AMNA reported on Tuesday, citing the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
Last month Athens announced intentions to file complaints against Turkey for unilaterally extending its search and rescue area to overlap the Greek area of responsibility.
Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu celebrated Turkey’s new National Search and Rescue Plan on Oct. 17.
“We have extended our search and rescue area of responsibility in our Blue Homeland to include the exploration fields of our national vessels,” Karaismailoğlu said, referring to Turkey’s doctrine of maritime sovereignty in the seas surrounding the country and the ongoing efforts for hydrocarbon exploration in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Fatih’e, Yavuz’a, Kanuni’ye selam olsun.✋#MaviVatanımızda arama ve kurtarma sorumluluk sahamızı, Doğu Akdeniz’de faaliyet gösteren milli gemilerimizin arama sahalarını kapsayacak şekilde genişlettik.
Yeni Ulusal Arama ve Kurtarma Planımız ülkemize hayırlı olsun. pic.twitter.com/EkDqxZaY1c
— Adil Karaismailoğlu (@akaraismailoglu) October 17, 2020
The latest moves in the region have sparked high tensions with Greece, Cyprus and the European Union over territorial rights.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias had written to ICAO about Turkey’s plans, and the organisation’s Secretary General Fang Liu responded to the minister, saying Turkey had not submitted an official proposal to amend the boundaries, which can only be modified if all countries in the region agree, according to AMNA.
Ankara objects to Greece’s internationally recognised continental shelf, saying Greece’s islands that are much closer to Turkey’s shores than the Greek mainland should not entitle the country to territorial waters.
The two neighbours’ dispute emerged in full after Turkey’s 2019 deal with Libya to redefine maritime boundaries.
The European Union has been weighing whether to impose sanctions on Ankara over what European leaders have called Turkey’s unilateral provocations in the disputed waters.