Chief of the Turkish General Staff Hulusi Akar attended a military exercise carried out in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas on Saturday.
Turkey launched the military drill named Beyaz Fırtına (White Storm) in east Mediterranean and Aegean waters on May 14, which is to last till May 25. Conducted every two years by the Turkish Naval Forces Command, the White Storm exercise aims to improve the mobility power and ability of the military units that participate in the drill and contribute to the maintenance of security in the Mediterranean.
Attending the drill alongside other senior military commanders, Akar spoke of recent developments in the Aegean Sea, indicating that Turkey wants to carry out its activities in compliance with international law, bilateral agreements and navigation rules.
"We always say if dialogue and cooperation cannot solve the issue, we will use our power without hesitation," Akar warned.
In April, Greek youths tried to plant a flag on an islet near Didim in southwestern Turkey, the latest in a string of similar incidents. In February, a Turkish patrol boat rammed into a Greek coast guard patrol boat near the Kardak islets in the southeastern Aegean. In January, the Turkish Coast Guard blocked Greece's defense minister from approaching Kardak to lay a wreath there.
A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Aegean islets brought the two countries to the brink of an armed conflict in 1996.
Akar also indicated that Turkey would continue its fight against terrorism without any pause.
"We resolutely continue our fight against terrorism. We will continue this fight until the last terrorist is killed," Akar said, while adding that operations against terrorist organizations were being carried out in east and southeast Anatolia, as well as Syria.
"Our activities in [the Syrian cities of] Idlib, Afrin, al-Bab and east of the Euphrates are ongoing," Akar said, adding that there were many improvised explosives and mines in areas cleared of terrorists in Afrin.
Akar also praised the Free Syrian Army (FSA) for its bravery and success.
Speaking on recent developments in the Aegean Sea, Akar said Turkey wanted to carry out its activities in compliance with international law, bilateral agreements and navigation rules.
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