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Boat Ban to Top Turkish Transport Minister’s Agenda in Athens

Turkey’s Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan will be visiting Athens this week to discuss his country’s recent decision to ban all Turkish-flagged yachts, sailboats and ferries from traveling to Greece and the impact on tourism for both countries.

Arslan will meet with the relevant authorities to discuss the ban, which went into effect on September 25 for commercial yachts and on October 2 for passenger ships following port control inspections and criminal sanctions imposed by Greece.

“We will meet with the competent minister in Greece on October 12,” Arslan told Anadolu press agency.

Turkey’s Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan.

Last week, the Turkish transport ministry issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind its decision, noting that “wooden schooners should be exempt from such inspections. Probes by Greek authorities of our wooden craft, within the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which applies to merchant fleet and recording the inspection findings in the electronic system may create a situation that will negatively affect the Turkish merchant fleet as a whole”.

“Turkey sincerely wishes to resolve this problem,” the statement said.

Turkish transport ministry officials recently visited Athens in order to forward proposals for a resolution to the issue without however reaching an agreement with their counterparts.

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