ATHENS – Thirty-six professional fishermen said that Turkish Coast Guard vessels and Turkish fishermen are regularly violating Greek territorial waters in the eastern Aegean and getting away with it.
They sent an extra-judicial notice to the Greek government, a pre-suit subpoena outlining their arguments and charging that the Greek Coast Guard hasn’t acted to help them with Turkey continuing provocations in the area.
“… We consider, that as residents of the border region, we are before an unequal and undeclared war with our competitor Turkish fishermen and Turkish patrol boats, which are facilitating illegal fishing,” the notice stated, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.
The group said the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition has ignored their complaints, apparently fearful of escalating tensions with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who keeps taunting Greece.
European Parliament lawmaker Eliza Vozemberg, from Greece’s major rival New Democracy, asked the European Commission to look into the claims that Turkish trawlers have been systematically violating Greek territorial waters and taking fish, said Kathimerini.
She cited the formal complaint in which the Greek fishermen spoke of an “escalation of an uneven and undeclared war by Turkish fishermen and Turkish patrol boats in all the Aegean sea areas.”
She asked for the European Union to intervene although it has largely stayed away from the tensions between the countries even though Turkey wants to join the bloc – and is supported by Greece.
Vozemberg said Turkish violations in the Aegean are challenging the sovereign rights of an EU country, violating the rules of good neighborly relations and European directives for the protection of fish stocks.
In August, Greek fishermen twice said Turkish fishing vessels violating Greek waters in the Aegean fired shots in an apparent attempt to scare them off, leading the Coast Guard to investigate.
One incident took place west of the island of Samothrace in an area where fishermen from both countries work the waters with Turkey disputing sea lanes and having previously sent warships past Greek islands.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under growing pressure domestically after a doubling of US tariffs on Turkish steel sent the lira plunging and created an economic crisis for him but there appears to be no let-up in Turkish provocations in the Aegean