"Greece has infringed the confidence-building measures by declaring a new Navtex in the Aegean Sea," security sources told the press Thursday.
"The Navtex will span to Turkey's Republic Day on Oct. 29," the sources added, pointing to a provocation as the Greek Navtex covers the live-fire drills.
In response, Turkey has also declared another Navtex in the area.
Navtex, or navigational telex, is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area, as well as other information.
Greece has armed 18 out of 23 islands in the Aegean Sea, which Turkey sees as a threat to its security. These include the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Symi, Icaria, Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Astypalaia, Rhodes, Kastellorizo (Megisti-Meis), Nisyros, Tilos, Halki, Karpathos and Kasos.
Turkey has recently criticized Greece for military deployment to the demilitarized island of Kastellorizo, calling it a provocation and a display of its true intentions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The island of Kastellorizo is only 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Turkish shore. Greek armed forces carried out a military drill on Kastellorizo in November 2019.
Starting with the Treaty of London in 1913, the militarization of the Eastern Aegean Islands was restricted and their demilitarized status was confirmed in the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923. The 1947 Treaty of Paris, which ceded the Dodecanese islands from Italy to Greece, also confirmed the demilitarized status.
However, Greece argues that the 1936 Montreux Convention on Turkish Straits should be applied regarding the issue, while Ankara says Greece's obligation to disarm the islands remains unchanged under the Montreux Convention as well since there is no provision that it is different from the Treaty of Lausanne on the issue.
The rearming of the demilitarized Aegean islands has always been a hot debate between the two countries, especially after the 1960s when relations between Ankara and Athens turned sour over the Cyprus issue and Greece's extended claims over Aegean airspace and territorial waters. Turkey's first reaction to Greece's arming of the islands in the Aegean was a diplomatic note given to Athens on June 29, 1964.
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