Greek-Turkish disputes

In the early 1970s, Turkey launched a systematic policy of disputes and claims to the detriment of Greece's sovereignty and sovereign rights. Its purpose is to change the territorial status quo, provided for in international treaties, focusing on the Lausanne Peace Treaty, as well as the legal status of the maritime and airspace derived from international law, namely the law of the sea (UNCLOS). This Turkish policy against Greece coincided with the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the occupation of its northern part (July 1974), which continues to this day, with decisive effects on the relations between the two countries and the increase of tension.

Schedule of Turkish disputes

Since the establishment of the Greek state, with the signing of the London Protocol on February 3, 1830 onwards, wars between Greece and the neighboring country, tensions, small or large conflicts have been and are an established phenomenon. The 'rich' history of controversies includes the Greek-Turkish War of 1897, the First Balkan War (1912-1913), the First World War (1914-1918) and finally the Greek-Turkish War (1919-1922). The end of the latter was followed by the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey.

Greece and Turkey joined NATO in 1952, but superficially good relations deteriorated in the 1950s, due to the pogrom against the Greeks of Constantinople in 1955 (September) and the expulsion of the Greeks from Constantinople in 1960.

In order to challenge the Greek rights in the Aegean, Turkey publishes a map in the Government gazette that gives rights of exploration and exploitation of the Aegean shelf to the state oil company TRAO.

The discovery of the oil field in Thassos is officially announced by Greece. The impression was that it was an extremely rich deposit, capable of ensuring even the country's oil self-sufficiency.

The Turkish oceanographic vessel "Chandarli" goes out to the Aegean for research, in an obvious attempt to create accomplished events and a practical challenge to the Greek sovereignty guaranteed in the International Treaties in the Aegean.

During the Turkish invasion in Cyprus two greek F-5A were involved in an air battle with two Turkish F-102s near Agios Efstratios.

The Prime Minister, Konstantinos Karamanlis, proposes to Turkey that the two countries should apply to the International Court of Justice in Hague, to resolve their dispute over the continental shelf. Turkey accepts the proposal in principle, but proposes the start of high-level discussions between the two governments in order to work out the conditions under which the case will be referred.

At a meeting of Prime Ministers K. Karamanlis and Suleiman Demirel in Brussels, the referral to the International Court of Justice in Hague is explicitly agreed. After four months, Turkey withdraws and states that "the issue of the continental shelf is not self-existent, but is part of a wider range of issues.".

For the first time, the Turks set up the illegal - as they characterize it - creation of permanent military installationsin the Aegean islands, while two weeks after the invasion in Cyprus they issue the ΝΟΤΑΜ 714, with which they demand that all planes flying over half the Aegean have to be reported to Turkey.

The research vessel, Hora, is conducting research on the Greek continental shelf. The Greek government is protesting strongly and PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou is calling for a dynamic military response. This position is registered in the press with the wording "you have sunk Chora". On the night of August 6, Chora violates the Greek continental shelf for the first time.

Turkish and Greek soldiers exchange fire in the village of Peplo of Evros, resulting in the death of Zisis Karagogos and the wounding of 5 more soldiers. Unconfirmed information speaks of the death of a lieutenant and 4 Turkish soldiers.

In the first months of 1987, Turkey successively sent Piri Reyes and Seismic to the Aegean, making it clear that it would not respect the continental shelf of the Greek islands. The US and NATO maintain a pro-Turkish stance, but the Greek government negotiates with Bulgaria and withdraws its troops from the border there, strengthening Evros.

It becomes the unthinkable that a Warsaw Pact country helps a NATO member state in a conflict with a supposed "ally" country. The shock becomes even greater when Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou suspends the operation of the US base in Nea Makri.

Eventually the research vessel will remain in Turkish territorial waters and anchor in Imvros.

Greek Mirage F1CG crashes near Agios Efstratios during a low-flying air battle with two Turkish F-16s and pilot Nikolaos Sialmas is killed.

Turkish F-16 crashes into the sea after an air battle with Greek Mirage F1CG. Turkish pilot Mustafa Gildirim rescued by Greek helicopter and returns to Turkey.

Landing of the Turkish cargo ship Figen Akat in Eastern Imia. The captain asks for a Turkish tug and refuses to be towed by a Greek.

- 29/12/1995:The Turkish Foreign Minister issues the following verbal statement: «The rocky islet of KARNTAK is part of the Turkish territory and is registered in the cadastre of the Mugla region, of the Prefecture of Bodrum, in the village of KARAKAGIA».

- 25/01/1996: The Greek flag is raised in Eastern Imia by the mayor of Kalymnos D. Diakomichalis.

- 27/01/1996: Hurriyet "journalists" land by helicopter that took off from Smyrna in Eastern Imia, lower the Greek flag and raise the Turkish one. Their action is recorded and presented in a TV show on a Turkish network.

- 28/01/1996: Navy patrol lowers the Turkish flag and raises the Greek one, violating the political order that was only to submit the Turkish flag. At night, Greek marines disembark in Mikri Imia.

- 31/01/1996 Turkish special forces land in Megali Imia (West). At 05:30 of the same day, a helicopter of the Greek Navy that took off by the frigate Navarino to detect the presence of the Turks, crashes and all three crew members are killed. With US mediation, the two countries are committed to withdrawing their forces and submitting flags.

A Turkish battle formation approaches the area south of the island of Karpathos and two Greek F-16s begin a process. During the engagement, a Turkish F-16 aircraft collided at an altitude of 27,000 feet with a Greek F-16. As a result of the collision, the Greek pilot was killed, while the Turk who managed to jump was rescued.

- NAVTEX 21/07-02/08: Turkey issues first illegal naval directive to investigate Oruch Reis in potential greek EEZ and raises an alarm in the Armed Forces. NAVTEX will not be activated, as Germany is intervening with firefighters and temporarily reducing the tension.

- NAVTEX 1024/20: Three weeks later, Turkey returns and this time will take the Oruch Reis out of the port of Antalya, accompanied by warships, from 10 to 23 August.

- NAVTEX 1062/20: Turkey is extending its investigations until August 27th, when European Union Foreign Ministers meet to discuss a list of sanctions against it.

- NAVTEX 1085/20: After a break of a few days, Turkey issues a new NAVTEX from August 27th to September 1st and Oruch Reis moves even closer to Kastellorizo.

- NAVTEX 1093/20: Turkey announces the continuation of the investigations for another 10 days and reaches 35nm south of Kastellorizo.

- NAVTEX 1262/20: Oruch Reis reaches 6.5nm.

- NAVTEX 1314/20: From 22 to 27 October the vessel makes researches at a distance of 6.5 nm from Kastellorizo ​​and 12 nm east of Rhodes, within areas of potential Greek EEZ (Greece has not officially defined its own EEZ).

Το άρθρο συνεχίζεται...

Ηλεκτρολόγος Δημήτρης Ανθής