Greek media claims Turkish annexation move on Zourafa Isle

Greek media claims Turkish annexation move on Zourafa Isle
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Conservative Greek newspaper Dimokratia alleges impending Turkish occupation of Zourafa Island amidst military exercises and conflicting NOTAMs.

According to the conservative Greek newspaper Dimokratia, Turkey is poised to annex Zourafa/Zurafa, a small islet in the Northern Aegean Sea. The paper, published on Sunday, detailed Turkey's alleged plans to incorporate the islet alongside conducting S-400 missile tests and military exercises in the area with Turkish F-16s and UAVs. The exercises on Zourafa are scheduled from October 30 to November 2.

In response to these developments, sources from the Greek Ministry of National Defence reportedly issued a counter-notice to Airmen (NOTAM), a practice traditionally adopted by Greece in such situations. However, Dimokratia contested this, stating that the term 'anti-NOTAM,' claimed to be issued by Greece's Ministry of National Defence for Zourafa, is not recognized in any international mechanisms such as ICAO, UN, NATO, Eurocontrol, or ECAC. The newspaper suggested that this could be a fabrication by the Mitsotakis government to mislead the Greek public and cover up their faults, pointing out that the only legitimate response would be a standard NOTAM warning for air navigators, not an 'anti-NOTAM.'

According to Dimokratia, Greece did indeed issue a NOTAM nullifying Turkey's exercises as a countermeasure to the alleged Turkish occupation of Zourafa. Reportedly, not one but two NOTAMs were published. However, the Greek government became aware of the occupation seven days later and issued NOTAM A-3789 on October 19 to cancel the Turkish exercise, only theoretically. Turkey countered the next day with NOTAM A-7847, reaffirming the exercise dates as October 30, November 1, and 2.

Zourafa, or Zurafa in Turkish, the subject of this dispute, is a small piece of land, mostly submerged, with a lighthouse located in the northeastern Aegean Sea.

*Photo: Google Maps