Qa-102, 18 October 2020, Statement Of The Spokesperson Of Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hami Aksoy, In Response To A Question Regarding The Statement Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of Greece On The Extension Of The Search And Rescue Responsibility Area Of Turkey

Turkiya Respublikasi Tashqi Ishlar Vazirligi 18.10.2020

Today (18 October), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece made a groundless statement regarding the extension of the search and rescue responsibility area of Turkey in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Search and rescue areas are not areas of sovereignty; they are areas of service. In this regard, Greece’s claim that this area, which remains outside of her territorial waters and is merely aimed at rescue and protection of human life, is a violation of her sovereignty, cannot be associated with law and a humanitarian approach.

The issue at hand is solely the adaptation of the area, where Turkey effectively provides search and rescue services at present, to the current circumstances.

The search and rescue responsibility area of Turkey has been extended to ensure the safety of the activities within our continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey, with successful search and rescue operations in the surrounding seas, acts entirely with a humanitarian notion, in contrast to Greece’s political motives.

Nevertheless, regarding the overlapping search and rescue responsibility areas of two littoral states in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece continues to leave our persisting calls in line with the provisions of 1979 Hamburg International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue for cooperation and coordination, unanswered. Furthermore, Greece sees no harm in diminishing the priority of human life by claiming the areas in question to be areas of sovereignty, and once more demonstrates her attitude by according such inhumane treatment for irregular migrants in distress in the Aegean Sea.

The sole country in the region with the operational capability to respond to any kind of incident that could jeopardize human life, is Turkey. Concordantly, the extension of Turkey’s search and rescue responsibility area is a significant step towards making the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean effectively safer for human life, where maritime and air traffic is one of the busiest in the world.

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