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Turkey To Hold Large-Scale Naval Drill Off Libyan Coast As Tensions Mount In Mediterranean

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Turkey To Hold Large-Scale Naval Drill Off Libyan Coast As Tensions Mount In Mediterranean

Turkish Navy frigate Gaziantep escorts drilling vessel Fatih October 30, 2018 © Reuters / Can Sezer

The Turkish Ministry of National Defence announced that soon it will hold large-scale naval exercises off the Libyan coast.

According to the released statement, the drills will be called “Naftex” and take place off the Libyan coast in three different regions: Barbaros, Turgutreis and Chaka Bey. Ankara claimed that they will involve 17 warplanes and eight ships in order to: “Prove Turkey’s ability to control the region by air and sea.”

The drills are apparently designed to prepare the navy forces for a potential war in the east of the Mediterranean.

The announcement came a few days after the visit of Admiral Adnan Ozbal, commander of the Turkish Naval Forces, to the Libyan capital of Tripoli whre the Turkish military delegation hold talks with the leadership of the pro-Turkish Government of National Accord.

The exercises are also seen as a response to the recent series of airstrikes that hit the Turkish-operated airbase in Libya. The responsibility for the airstrikes were taken by the Libyan National Army, which controls the east of the country. Nonetheless, pro-Turkish sources blame Egypt and the UAE.

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