Five nations hold military drills in Mediterranean in message to Turkey

The navies of Greece, Cyprus, France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates began joint military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean on Monday after tensions with Turkey intensified over territorial rights and hydrocarbon resources, the Greek Reporter said on Sunday.

The naval exercises, dubbed "Medusa", were expected to last until Dec. 6, the Greek Reporter said, citing the Cypriot defence ministry.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said on Sunday that the planned military manoeuvres "show once again who wants tensions and avoids dialogue and does not want peace”. 

Political and military tensions between Turkey and other countries in the region have escalated after Turkey sent survey ships to explore for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean this summer, activities which Greece and Cyprus say encroached on their territories. Turkey has also come to political blows with Egypt and the UAE over the war in Libya, with the countries supporting opposite sides in the conflict.

The naval exercises follow similar joint drills by the Egyptian, French, U.S. and Greek navies in late July. The European Union’s political leadership will meet next month to decide on possible sanctions against Turkey for undermining Greek and Cypriot sovereignty. France is supporting Greece in seeking to punish the fellow NATO member.