1987 Aegean crisis

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1987 Aegean crisis took place in late March between Turkey and Greece, as part of the Aegean dispute. Turkey learned that Greece was starting to drill for oil in the disputed Aegean waters in the vicinity of Thasos. In response, the Turkish survey ship RV MTA Sismik 1 was sent to the area to conduct survey with an escort of Turkish warships.[1][2]

Oil was discovered off Thasos, in 1973. Greece claims ownership of mineral rights in the continental shelf extending from beneath all its islands in the Aegean. Turkey proposes that the continental shelf be divided through negotiations.[3]

The crisis escalated, armed forces of both countries were on alert, and both sides said they would use force if obstructed by the other.[4] The incident nearly started a war between Greece and Turkey.[5] Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou gave the orders to sink the ship if it was found in the disputed waters claimed by Greece. Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Özal said that "If Greece interferes with our vessel in any way, and this is what Papandreou is saying, we will act in the same way against him", "As a result, it could be cause for war.", but he also added that "We are waiting for the first move from them."[6] Peter Carington, the Secretary General of NATO, urged Greece and Turkey to avoid the use of force and offered to act as a mediator.[7]

The crisis was solved when Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Özal announced that if the Greek government did not enter the disputed waters, the Turks would stay out as well; he participated in a phone call with Papandreou.