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Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement on Turkey’s declaration of a new illegal search and rescue region

Sunday, 18 October 2020

The Turkish search and rescue region which is arbitrarily defined in the new Turkish law, like the one defined in the Turkish law of 1988, is illegal to the extent that it overlaps areas of Greek sovereignty and jurisdiction, thus producing no legal effect. In addition, it is not based on operational criteria and does not serve the purpose of protecting human life.

The search and rescue region under Greek responsibility, which was established in the 1950s by the ICAO Regional Air Navigation Agreements and officially declared as of 1975 to the competent International Maritime Organization (IMO), coincides with the Athinai FIR and is in accordance with the IMO and ICAO recommendations included in the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual. We also underscore that, in practice, Greece, through the competent Greek Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in Piraeus, effectively coordinates all search and rescue operations in its search and rescue region, providing relevant services to all ships and aircraft in distress.

It is clear from this latest move, which is purely politically motivated, that Turkey has no qualms about causing confusion and thereby endangering human lives. This move adds to a long list of arbitrary and illegal Turkish claims in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean – claims that are responsible for the unprecedented escalation in the recent period. Turkish actions will once again clash with international legality, to which Turkey must eventually reconcile itself.

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