DefenceNet reports that Turkey is resorting to a highly dangerous game of chicken with regards to the Aegean, in a geographic area which has proven oil deposits in the northern sector. This area will be the scene of brinkmanship between Greece and Turkey as Turkey has made a move which shows the intention to provoke a conflict.
All provocations this year to date (over flights, airspace violations, entering restricted training areas etc.) are incidents based on long term planning and are not isolated incidents.
Now, for the first time ever, Turkey is resorting to an action which in any other place on the planet would result in a conflict. Turkey has decided to conduct a three month long exercise in an area which for the greatest part coincides with an area already reserved by Greece which will hold its own air and naval exercises.
Once more Turkey issued a NOTAM which is completely invalid as it refers to a an area over which it has no jurisdiction, it involves the Athens FIR and it comes immediately after the Greek notice with regards to the Greek exercise.
Imagine aircraft and naval vessels of both countries exercising in the same area for the period of two months and with the use of live weapons. The danger of an accident happening is more than a mere possibility.
This is the reason the situation is referred to as a game of chicken as possibly one of the two sides will have to back down to avoid the worst.
Below are the NOTAMs in question:
A3913/09 (Issued for LTBB LGGG PART 1 OF 2) - NAVIGATIONAL WARNING TO ALL CONCERNED
1-TURKEY REQUESTED THE GREEK AIS TO PROMULGATE APPROPRIATE NOTAM FOR THE EXERCISE AREA LOCATED WITHIN INTERNATIONAL WATERS AND AIRSPACE OF AEGEAN SEA FOR THE TURKISH FIRING EXERCISE TO BE CONDUCTED FROM 04 JAN 10 TILL 31 MAR 10 0500-1600 UTC. EXCEPT SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS AND 06,29 JAN,12,15 FEB AND 25 MAR 10) WITH REF 071227 LTAAYEYX.
GREEK AIS DID NOT PROMULGATE APPROPRIATE NOTAM FOR THE EXERCISES AREA IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR REF. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES DUE TO THE INSISTENT ATTITUDE OF GREECE, TURKEY IS LEFT WITH NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE BUT TO TAKE ITS OWN INITATIVE TO PROMULGATE THE NECESSARY NOTAM FOR THE EXERCISE AREA.
TURKEY WILL TAKE ALL NECESSARY MEASURES FOR THE SAFETY OF THE GENERAL AIR TRAFFIC AS SHE DID IN THE PAST AND IS ALWAYS READY FOR COOPERATION AND COORDINATION IN THIS RESPECT.
2- THE NOTAM INFORMATION FOR THE EXERCISE AREA IS AS FOLLOWS.
EXERCISE AREA :ATHINAI FIR ( FIRING)
1. LATERAL LIMITS :401630N-253900E, 401800N-253000E, 403500N-245800E, 401100N-243300E, 400900N-244500E, 402000N-245600E,400700N-253300E.
END PART 1 OF 2. 04 JAN 05:00 2010 UNTIL 31 MAR 16:00 2010. CREATED: 14 DEC 15:45 2009
A3913/09 (Issued for LTBB LGGG PART 2 OF 2) - 2. VERTICAL LIMITS : 0-10000 FT MSL (INCL)
3. DATE AND TIMES : FROM 04 JAN 10 TILL 31 MAR 10 0500-1600 UTC.(EXCEPT SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS AND 06,29 JAN 12,15 FEB AND 25 MAR 10)
3. PROCEDURES FOR EXERCISE AIRCRAFT :
A. THE FLIGHTS WILL BE CONDUCTED AT VFR CONDITIONS AND UNDER POSITIVE RADAR CONTROL.
B. EXERCISE AIRCRAFT SHALL DISPLAY ANTI COLLISION AND NAVIGATION LIGHTS CONTINUOUSLY.
4. PROCEDURES FOR NON-EXERCISE AIRCRAFT:
IN THE INTEREST OF FLYING SAFETY DURING THE EXERCISE, NON-EXERCISE AIRCRAFT ARE STRONGLY ADVISED NOT TO FLY WITHIN THE EXERCISE AREA DESCRIBED ABOVE. FL000 - FL100 END PART 2 OF 2, 04 JAN 05:00 2010 UNTIL 31 MAR 16:00 2010. CREATED: 14 DEC 15:45 2009
A2404/09 (Issued for LGGG PART 1 OF 3) - HELLENIC NAVY AND AIRFORCE WILL MAKE A JOINT FIRING AND WITHOUT FIRING EXER WITHIN ATHINAI FIR AS DESCRIBED BELOW:
1.- EXERCISE AREA GA (WITHOUT FIRING) : 402400N0255200E 403500N0251000E 405000N0251000E 404400N0260200E THEN ALONG ATHINAI/ISTANBUL FIR BDRY TO 402400N0255200E.
AWYS G33 (LMO-ALX), G12 AND M603 (SUTIS-ALX), N131 (RODOP-BELGI), ALEXANDROUPOLIS TMA AFFECTED.
VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL.
DATES AND TIMES: JAN 11 0600-1000, FEB 01 16 0600-1000.
2.- EXERCISE AREA GB (WITHOUT FIRING): 392400N0260000E 390000N0251800E 394000N0250800E 395000N0253800E THEN ALONG ATHINAI/ISTANBUL FIR BDRY TO 392400N0260000E.
AWYS G33 (LMO-LUPIS), H59 (LMO-ERESO), LIMNOS TMA AFFECTED. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL. DATES AND TIMES: JAN 15 1030-1230, 27 0600-1000, FEB 03 19 24 0600-1000.
3.-EXERCISE AREA GC (FIRING AND WITHOUT FIRING):360000N0292000E 351000N0290600E 353000N0281000E 361000N0284000E. AWYS R19 AND M601(LAKAD-EXELA) L609 AND G18(NILAS-ALKIS) L995(IRBAX-AMONO) L52(TIRMO-VAXOS) W54(ANTAR-ORVIS) AFFECTED. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL. FIRING: JAN 12 0600-1000. WITHOUT FIRING: JAN 08 18 22 0600-1000, FEB 08 11 22 23 0600-1000.
4.- EXERCISE AREA GD (WITHOUT FIRING):385000N0250000E 383000N0250000E383000N0254500E 385500N0254500E. AWYS N604 AND G8(OLIDA-LSV) N130(ESOPO-PIVOS) CHIOS TMA AFFECTED. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL. DATES AND TIMES: JAN 07 13 0600-1000, 19 1030-1230, FEB 04 0600-1000,18 1030-1230.
5.- EXERCISE AREA GE (FIRING AND WITHOUT FIRING): 381000N0261400E. DATES AND TIMES AS ITEM E, 04 JAN 06:00 2010 UNTIL 26 FEB 10:00 2010. CREATED: 11 DEC 11:00 2009
A2404/09 (Issued for LGGG PART 2 OF 3) -
380000N0254500E 374500N0260000E 375000N0270500E THEN ALONG ATHINAI/ISTANBUL FIR BOUNDARY TO 381000N0261400E. AWYS H59 (MES-SAM), R32 (ERIMA-REDRA), R20 (KEA-SITRU), SAMOS TMA AFFECTED. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL. FIRING: FEB 02 0600-1000. WITHOUT FIRING: JAN 05 14 21 26 0600-1000, FEB 17 25 0600-1000.
6.- EXERCISE AREA GF (WITHOUT FIRING) :353000N0274000E 350000N0271500E344000N0280000E 352000N0282000E. AWYS N132 (LAPSO-KUMBI), N133 AND N137 (KRC-GUDIS), N134 (MASES-DOPUS), N139 (KRC-KUMBI), L53 (LATMO-MASES), M978 AND R78 (LAPSO-PERIM), W54 (ANTAR-ORVIS) AFFECTED. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL.
DATES AND TIMES: JAN 20 28 0600-1000, FEB 09 0600-1000.
7.- EXERCISE AREA GH (WITHOUT FIRING): 340000N0260000E 343000N0260000E 343000N0270000E 340000N0270000E. AWYS L607 AND A10 (SIT-PAXIS), L613 (AMAXI-TANSA), L617 AND B12 (SIT-TANSA) AFFECTED. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL. DATES AND TIMES: JAN 25 0600-1000, FEB 10 0600-1000.
8.- EXERCISE AREA GI (WITHOUT FIRING): 344000N0280500E 344000N0292000E 341000N0292000E 341000N0280500E. AWYS N132 (LAPSO-KUMBI), N133 AND N137 (GUDIS-ANTAR), W54 (ANTAR-ORVIS), L53 (ABILO-PERIM), A14 AND M872 (GUDIS-KAVOS) AFFECTED. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-10000FT AMSL. DATES AND TIMES: JAN 04 0600-1000, FEB 05 11 0600-1000.
9.- EXERCISE AREA GK (WITHOUT FIRING): 403030N0255230E 403500N0245800E 401000N0242500E 394900N0242800E 401020N0253230E THEN ALONG ATHINAI/ ISTANBUL FIR BDRY TO 403030N0255230E. AWYS H59 (AMALA-LMO), G33 (LMO-ALX), LIMNOS TMA AFFECTED. DATES AND TIMES AS
ITEM E, 04 JAN 06:00 2010 UNTIL 26 FEB 10:00 2010. CREATED: 11 DEC 11:00 2009
A2404/09 (Issued for LGGG PART 3 OF 3) -
DATES AND TIMES: JAN 29 0600-1000, FEB 12 0600-1000.
10.- EXERCISE AREA GP (WITHOUT FIRING) : 372400N0260000E 373100N0262100E 371500N0261900E 370900N0260000E. VERTICAL LIMITS: 0-08000FT AMSL. DATES AND TIMES: JAN 11 0600-1000, FEB 26 0600-1000.
11.- PROCEDURES FOR EXERCISE AIRCRAFT:
11.1.-EXERCISE AIRCRAFT WILL FLY VFR/VMC IN ACCORDANCE WITH ICAO RULES AND PROCEDURES AS AMPLIFIED IN AIP-GREECE.
11.2.-EXERCISE AIRCRAFT WILL SUBMIT FLIGHT PLANS AND WILL NOT ENTER CONTROLLED AIRSPACE UNLESS PRIOR PERMISSION HAS BEEN OBTAINED BY APPROPRIATE ATS UNITS.
12.-PROCEDURES FOR NON EXERCISE AIRCRAFT:
12.1.-IN THE INTEREST OF SAFETY DURING THE EXERCISE NON EXERCISE AIRCRAFT ARE STRONGLY ADVISED NOT TO FLY WITHIN THE AREAS DESIGNATED IN PARAS (1) TO (10) ABOVE. 00000FT AMSL - FL100, DATES AND TIMES AS ITEM E, 04 JAN 06:00 2010 UNTIL 26 FEB 10:00 2010. CREATED: 11 DEC 11:00 2009
The above NOTAMs show that unless something changes Greek and Turkish forces will be facing each other with live weapons for a period of two months.
The question is what are the short term goals of Turkey? On a longer term basis it is known that Turkey rejects Greek NOTAMs when it comes to area Turkey considers to be “demilitarised”, as is the case of Samothraki and Psara.
In a similar exercise a month earlier Turkey issued a NOTAM regarding “illegal” Greek exercises on “demilitarised” islands.
In this case Turkey is going a step further and is reserving the same areas as the Hellenic Armed Forces. The same happened in 1974, when Greece issued a NOTAM closing the eastern Aegean for civilian air traffic due to dangers to air traffic.
Analysts with whom DefenceNet has consulted have noted that this latest Turkish move is likely connected with the soon to start oil exploration by Aegean Energy in the northern sector of the same area in which Turkey will hold exercises.