‘Smyrna di Levante’ to connect Greece’s Thessaloniki to Turkey’s Izmir
A ferry connecting Greece and Turkey will begin operating in the Aegean Sea on October 10 amid political tensions and war threats between the two countries.
The ferry, named Smyrna di Levante which will operate under the company Levante Ferries, will cross the Aegean Sea from Greece’s Thessaloniki to Turkey’s Izmir in both ways three times a week, carrying both passengers and freight vehicles.
Established in 2015, Levante Ferries mainly serves the Ionian islands but sees the Thessaloniki – Izmir route as an opportunity to expand its services abroad. The company has invested 16 million euros in the new route.
“The ship creates a communication bridge between the neighboring countries of Greece and Turkey, which now come closer in commercial, social and cultural terms,” the company website said.
Yet on the political side, tensions are higher than ever. Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, have been increasingly at odds over a string of issues, including the status of the Aegean islands.
Turkey accuses Greece for militarizing its islands and building American bases in violation of international treaties.
On Tuesday, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan continued his inflammatory rhetoric against Greece ahead of a European Summit where some experts hoped the two sides could meet.
"The Greek Prime Minister is seeking help from the U.S. against what? Against Turkey. Whatever you do, we will continue to do what is necessary. And we are ready to do that," Erdogan said.