Details of the multinational effort by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to lend their support in the waters between Greece and Turkey have been ironed out, following objections by both countries involving territorial sensitivities.
The bloc has agreed how ships will help counter the criminal smuggling networks that are thriving on Turkey’s west coast and will work closely with all parties involved, including the Turkish and Greek coastguards and the European Union border agency, Frontex.
“Greek and Turkish forces will not operate in each other’s territorial waters and airspace,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement, adding that any NATO vessels, other than Greek or Turkish ships, would be able to sail in any territorial waters.
The agreement includes the returning to Turkey of any refugees that NATO vessels rescue.
“In case of rescue of persons coming via Turkey, they will be taken back to Turkey,” Stoltenberg said.