On August 22nd, Turkish air and naval forces conducted joint training exercises in the Aegean Sea, amid increased tensions with Greece in the region.
F-16 fighter jets took part alongside warships to “enhance, maintain and improve the operational capability of joint inter-forces operations,” the Turkish defense ministry tweeted.
This is notable, since Greece also announced that it would be carrying out military drills, in the same area.
As a result, Greece and Turkey are carrying out rival exercises in the same area.
Turkey announced on August 24th that exploration by its Oruc Reis research vessel in contentious waters would be extended for four days till August 27th.
“Greece is responding calmly and with readiness both on a diplomatic and on an operational level. And with national confidence it does everything needed to defend its sovereign rights,” Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.
Turkey provided a response in suit.
“Turkey will not take even the smallest step back from the activities of either Oruc Reis or our naval elements escorting it,” President Recip Tayyip Erdogan said.
Greece had “thrown itself into a chaos from which it cannot find a way out,” he said.
Four F-16 fighter jets of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were deployed at the Souda Air Base in Crete.
They are taking part in the Greek exercise, the UAE has little interest in Turkish drilling activities in the Mediterranean, however, it supports Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in Libya.
Turkey supports the Government of National Accord (GNA), and as such they are conditional enemies within that scope.
As such, the UAE are attempting to assist Greece in pressuring Turkey in the Mediterranean Sea, hoping that it would give a result elsewhere as well.
Additionally, Egypt opposes Turkish ambitions in both Libya and the Mediterranean, but they’re not taking part in these exercises.
Greece and Egypt, though, signed a maritime deal, allowing them to share usage of their exclusive economic zones, which Turkey deems illegal.
Turkey, on its part, signed a deal with the Libyan Government Accord, allow Turkey to drill in the eastern Mediterranean, which would be Libya’s EEZ.
This agreement is deemed illegal by France, Greece, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus.
Essentially, Turkey has conflicts with most countries operating and exploiting the eastern Mediterranean Sea for one purpose or another, as well as those acting in Libya.
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