Turkey to hold five-day joint military drill with Northern Cyprus

Turkey is set to hold joint military exercises with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the Defence Ministry announced on Saturday.

The five-day drill will begin on Sept. 6 and be held with cooperation from air, naval and ground forces, with the goal of developing "mutual training, cooperation and interoperability,’’ between the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Command and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Security Forces Command, Sözcü newspaper cited the ministry as saying.

The drill arrives amid soaring tensions over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean off the divided island between Turkey, on side, and Greece and Greek Cyprus, on the other.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.