Turkey’s Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan, announced on Tuesday that he has banned Turkish tourist ships from reaching the Greek islands.
According to the information, this decision comes as a “response” to the seizure by the Greek authorities of Turkish ships, for violations of specific international safety provisions.
Eleven ships have been seized by the Greek authorities due to fines for breaches of international maritime transport regulations as they did not have the necessary rescue equipment.
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reports that a directive has already been sent to Turkey’s port authorities and the ban will apply to leisure crafts from September 25, while for passengers ships from October 12.
If this decision is implemented, Greek tourist ships will not be able to reach the ports of Turkey either.
“The fact that Greece has begun investigating and confiscating such small vessels, under 24m, citing violation of rules, jeopardizes the “white flag” status of Turkey. It is something that can not be accepted, “Turkish Ahmed Arslan told TRT, and added that “we will not allow the departure to Greece as long as the country keeps this stance”.
However, the Turkish Minister also left a window on diplomacy. He will discuss the issue with his Greek counterpart during his visit to Greece on October 12, the day when the ban on passenger ships begins.