Turkey sends observers to Vostok-2018 military exercises

Turkey will send military observers to the massive Russian Vostok-2018 military exercises, but declined an invitation to actively participate, the Cumhuriyet newspaper said.

The Vostok 2018 exercises will involve 300,000 Russian troops, as well as dozens of aerial and naval vessels from across the country, in addition to several thousand Chinese troops. Russia, which spans 11 time zones, divides its military preparedness drills into two separate events. 2018 is the year of Vostok (“East”) drills that take place Sept. 11-18 in China, Mongolia and Siberia.  

Turkey was extended an invitation to participate in the drills during the Tehran summit on Syria between from Russia, Iran and Turkey last week, but decided to send military observers, Cumhuriyet said.

NATO said in a statement: “Vostok demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: A more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence.”