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On 7 December 1944, the International Civil Aviation Convention was signed in Chicago, providing for the establishment of an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO was to delimit the areas of responsibility for air space control for its member-states (Flight Information Region-FIR). The Athens FIR was delimited within the framework of the European Regional Aviation Conferences in 1950, 1952 and 1958.
The Athens FIR covers Greek national air space plus some areas of international air space.
Turkey was present in the above mentioned Regional Conferences and accepted delimitation of the air space for which Greece was granted responsibility.
In accordance with ICAO rules and international practice, Greece requests that all civil and military aircraft should submit flight plans prior to their entry into the Athens FIR for reasons of safety for civilian flights.
Despite this, however, in August 1974 Turkey arbitrarily issued its NOTAM ("notice to airmen") 714 by which it tried to extend the area under its jurisdiction as far as the middle of the Aegean within the Athens FIR. Greece then declared the Aegean a danger zone (NOTAM 1157). The ICAO appealed to both sides unsuccessfully. In 1980, Ankara unilaterally repealed NOTAM 714, realizing that the measure was damaging its interests, especially tourism. However, ever since then Turkey has ceased to submit flight plans for its military aircraft, arguing that the Chicago Convention does not apply to national aircraft and consistently refusing to submit flight plans for entry of its military aircraft into the Athens FIR, thus violating Air Traffic Rules on numerous counts and putting civil aviation security at risk.
The Hellenic Air Force is thus obliged to identify all aircraft entering Athens FIR not having submitted flight plans, as well as intercept aircraft violating our national airspace.
plans, as well as intercept aircraft violating Greece’s national airspace