Turkey says it will hold military drills in Mediterranean

Turkey said on Thursday it will hold firing exercises in the eastern Mediterranean on September 1-2, the latest in a series of military drills which have fuelled tensions with Greece.

The announcement came hours before Parliament in Greece is expected to ratify an agreement with Egypt, which defines maritime boundaries between the two countries, a step which Turkey considers an affront.

NATO states Greece and Turkey have been locked in a dispute over control of eastern Mediterranean waters, which escalated after Ankara sent a seismic survey vessel to the disputed region this month in a move which Athens called illegal.

They are at odds over the rights to potential hydrocarbon resources, based on conflicting claims over the extent of their continental shelves.

The Turkish navy issued the latest advisory, known as a Navtex, on Thursday saying it will hold the shooting exercises in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Iskenderun, northeast of Cyprus. It also extended the seismic work of its Oruc Reis survey vessel, southwest of Cyprus, until Sept 1.

As the dispute widened, France said on Wednesday it was joining military exercises with Italy, Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the deployment of French military aircraft in Cyprus violated treaties regarding the control and administration of the island after independence from Britain in 1960.

Mr. Aksoy said that France’s stance was dangerously encouraging Greece and Cyprus to further escalate tensions in the region.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 following a Turkish invasion triggered by a Greek-inspired coup. Turkey recognises the Turkish-populated north of Cyprus as a separate state, which is not recognised by other countries.

Parliament in Greece is expected to ratify an accord defining its sea boundaries with Egypt, having ratified a similar deal with Italy.

Greece now plans to extend its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 nautical miles from its coast, from six nautical miles. Turkey has warned that a similar move by Athens in waters east of Greece would be a cause for war.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 4:47:18 AM |

Next Story