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Turks eye Greek island ferry routes

Turks eye Greek island ferry routes.

As Greek seamen go back to work following a six-day strike it is revealed that investors from Turkey are showing an interest in taking over some Greek island ferry routes. Many Greek islands faced shortages of supplies after strikers kept Greek ferries in their ports in protest at pay cuts and tax rises. Some ferry workers claim they have not been paid for six months.

The Greek government has cracked down hard on striking ferry workers who were forced back to work under emergency powers with threats of being jailed and losing their jobs .

Now Turkish investors are believed to be making behind-the-scenes overtures to Greek ferry companies and are considering plans to launch their own new ferry routes across the Aegean.

An announcement of deals between Turkish and smaller Greek ferry Greek companies is expected later this year and could lead to talks between major Greek ferry lines or even the wholesale sell-off of some routes.

There are already regular ferry services from several ports in the Greek Islands to those on mainland Turkey. There are ferries from Rhodes to Marmaris and Bodrum, and daily services between Samos and Kos and Kusadasi, as well as ferries between Chios and Cesme and between Lesvos and Izmir.

The Greek seamen went back to work this week despite a union vote to defy the government and to extend a six-day walkout. When scheduled services to islands resumed, riot police descended on the port of Piraeus to keep hard-line strikers away.

As the government looks as how many workers are needed to run subsidised ferry routes to the islands, many seamen fear further job losses are on the way.

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