BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 P.M.) – The Turkish media said on Monday that the Defense Ministry announced the implementation of a naval exercise tomorrow, Tuesday, south of the Greek island of Crete.
The Turkish move came after Athens announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in the disputed areas with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.
Earlier, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar expressed his condemnation of Greece’s announcement of holding air and sea military exercises on August 25 and 27 in the eastern Mediterranean.
Akar said that the implementation of these exercises in the area where the Turkish research ship “Uruj Rais, the head of a seismic survey,” is conducting a seismic survey that contradicts the rules of navigation and increases tensions in the region.
The Turkish army website stated that “Minister Akar described the Greek exercises in an area that overlaps with the work area of the research ship Uruj Rais as an activity that does not comply with good-neighborly relations and shipping rules, threatening safety and increasing tensions.”
There are currently major differences between Turkey and Greece, the two members of NATO, over the sovereignty of oil and gas resources in the region, based on conflicting views on the extension of the continental shelf of each of the two countries in the waters that are dotted with mostly Greek islands.