Turkish navy holds military exercise as tensions soar with Greece, Cyprus
The Turkish navy carried out operational readiness training in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean seas amid increasing territorial tensions with neighbouring Greece and the divided island of Cyprus, Daily Sabah reported on Sunday.
Twenty-seven warships, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) participated in the training, Daily Sabah said.
The drill arrives as Ankara entered into a war of words with Athens and Nicosia over the hydrocarbon drilling in the region.
The Cypriot government on Apr. 21 called Turkey's deployment of a survey vessel to drill for hydrocarbons near the island an "act of piracy" and a breach of its rights. Greece also released a statement criticising Turkey's recent efforts.
Cyprus has been split between a Greek Cypriot administration in the south, recognised internationally as the government of the whole island, and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot government in the north recognised only by Turkey.
Turkey has made clear its intentions to drill in areas in the west of the divided island, in spite of protests from the Greek Cypriot and its allies. Some of the areas explored by Turkish vessels lie in the Cypriot state’s claimed exclusive economic zone, which has caused increased tensions between Ankara and Athens.