The Turkish Navy today announced a sea maneuver with target practice in the eastern Mediterranean for the beginning of September. An area northeast of Cyprus off the Turkish coast near Iskenderun was specified as the location.
NATO members Greece and Turkey both raise claims to sea areas in the eastern Mediterranean where oil and gas are suspected. The EU has asked Turkey to stop drilling in the disputed waters.
France recently announced that it would participate in a planned maneuver in the eastern Mediterranean. Three fighter jets and a frigate will be provided. The maneuver is planned until Friday, and Italy, Greece and Cyprus will also take part. The spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that France was in breach of treaties by stationing military machines in Cyprus. In addition, Paris is encouraging Greece and Cyprus to further heat tensions in the region.
In the meantime, Turkey also extended the controversial search for natural gas by its research vessel “Oruc Reis” in the eastern Mediterranean by five days. The responsible naval authority announced today that the mission will end on September 1st.
Trump turns on
US President Donald Trump spoke to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis about the tense situation last night. Mitsotakis had drawn Trump’s attention to the fact that Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean endangered peace, stability in the region and the cohesion of NATO.
Greece was ready to contribute to the détente – but provided that Turkey immediately stops its provocative actions, it said in the communication.
Trump then telephoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the communications authority in Ankara announced. Erdogan made it clear in the conversation that Turkey is not the side that is causing instability. His country has already taken concrete steps to demonstrate that it is ready for dialogue.