The Embassy of Turkey in Athens has issued a statement by the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Shipping and Communications, explaining the reasoning behind the decision of Ankara to discontinue the routes of Turkish flag merchant ships to Greece.
According to the reasoning, wooden schooners should be exempt from the Port State Control inspections carried out in Greece, which resulted in penal sanctions imposed by Greek authorities on Turkish schooners operating on the islands of the Eastern Aegean.
More specifically, the information note states:
“Conducting inspections by the Greek Authorities on our wooden vessels in the context of the Essential Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the merchant fleet and recording the results of inspections in the electronic system of this Memorandum, could create a situation that will negatively affect the Turkish merchant fleet as a whole.
In essence, with a view to resolving the problem, which continued for a long time on 12 September 2017, a delegation from the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Shipping and Communications visited Athens, met with its Greek interlocutors and forwarded our proposals for a solution. However, it was found that, while our gulettees should not have been inspected, inspections continued to apply after the visit. Following this, the Ministry of Transport, Shipping and Communications, in order to avoid causing damage to the Turkish shipping sector as a whole, decided to discontinue the routes to the Eastern Aegean islands.
Turkey wishes with all honesty to resolve this problem. Therefore, we believe that this issue can be resolved during the visit of the Greek Minister of Transport, Shipping and Communications to Greece in October, in the framework of cooperation and good-neighbourly relations between our countries”./IBNA