The Turkish and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) armed forced began joint military exercises in North Cyprus on Sunday.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay announced on Twitter that the five-day exercise, Mediterranean Storm, is a demonstration of their will to stand against those trying to confine Turkey to the Gulf of Antalya while ignoring the rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
“The security priorities of our country and the TRNC are indispensable, along with diplomatic solutions in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.
Tensions have been running high for weeks in the region, as Greece has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey, which has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean – has sent out drill ships to explore for hydrocarbons on its continental shelf, asserting the rights of Turkey and the TRNC in the region.
It has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, trying to confine Turkish maritime territory to the Gulf of Antalya.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the only solution to the dispute lies through dialogue and negotiation to reach a win-win deal for sharing, and has urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.
AA News Agency
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