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Tension in the Mediterranean

20 August 2009 / 13:08:44  GRReporter
2382 reads

The collaborative training conducted by Turkey, Israel and USA in the waters around Kastellorizo Island owned by FIR Athens, brought tension in the Greek-Israeli relationships. Ankara did not request permission from Greek authorities and did not submit flight plans of the aircrafts participating.

The training began on August 17, south-east from Kastellorizo Island, and has the code name Reliant Mermaid. The Israeli armed forces had published on their website an announcement about the oncoming training on August 11, saying that the search and rescue training exercise will take place in the "Turkish area of the East Mediterranean." The announcement was phrased like this despite that diplomatic missions of Israel and USA in Athens have been officially informed that the region where the training is part of Greece's territorial waters.

The website announcement was noticed a day before the beginning of the training and instantly a message was sent by Greece to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The explanation was that a mistake has been bade and later the text was changed to "search and rescue training exercise will take place in the East Mediterranean."

The exercise, including a total of eight ships, four helicopters and three airplanes from the three countries, will be observed by the Greece. For the first two days the training was coordinated and following the map submitted, but yesterday it left the originally designated region. Turkey challenged Greece yet again by letting eight military airplanes to trespass FIR Athens borders. Four of the airplanes flew above Farmakonisi Island.

According to international agreement, the whole region belonging to FIR Athens, regarding investigations, rescue operations and coordination, is under Greek responsibility.

Tags: politics
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