The armed forces of Turkey on Sunday began military drills in the breakaway republic of northern Cyprus amid tensions with Greece after its maximalist claim on the waters of the eastern Mediterranean
The move came after Greece has resisted Turkey’s offshore survey activity in the Turkish Continental Shelf in Mediterranean last month making unjust, inequitable and absurd claims.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday has warned Greece: “They will either understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or on the field through bitter experiences.”
Earlier, NATO suggested strategic dialogues would start to avoid tensions between the two countries’ navies, but Athens said it had not agreed to the talks and Ankara accused Greece of snubbing dialogue.
The military of Turkey has begun drills called “Mediterranean Storm” with the Turkish Cypriot Security Command as the rift between the two countries ignited, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.
“The security priorities of our country and the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) are indispensable,” he said.
The defense ministry of Turkey also tweeted that the drills, which are due to last until Thursday, continued “successfully.”
Cyprus is divided between the Greek Cypriot-run south – an EU member state – and the Turkish Cypriot north.
Turkey has stationed tens of thousands of troops in the north of the island since its 1974 invasion, which followed a coup engineered by military rulers in Athens.