Apr 10 2019

Turkey denies naval drill behind increased Aegean dolphin deaths

The Turkish military denied accusations by a Greek marine conservation group that its naval exercises had led to an unusually high number of dolphin deaths in the Aegean Sea.

The Turkish Defence Ministry also posted a video and photographs on Twitter of dolphins frolicking in the water while accompanying vessels during Blue Homeland 2019, Turkey’s largest naval exercise to date.

More than 100 navy ships took part in the nine-day exercise, which began on Feb. 28, in the Black, Aegean and eastern Mediterranean seas.

Earlier this month the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation attributed the death of 15 dolphins, which had been washed up on Greece’s Aegean coast, to the drills, citing that sound waves from military-grade sonar can kill or otherwise impair marine mammals.

“Extremely sensitive about the environment and innocent civilians at sea, land and air even during military operations, the Turkish Armed Forces act with the consciousness of protecting our friends at sea during their duties in the Blue Homeland,’’ the Turkish Defence Ministry said.

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