Italian and Turkish submarines on Monday conducted a joint maritime drill in the Mediterranean, said Turkey's Defense Ministry on Monday.
In a tweet, the ministry said the two navies have the most effective submarine force in the Mediterranean Sea and will continue to improve their interoperability with maritime training.
Turkey and Italy, both NATO members, are two regional powers that share common interests, history and values in the Mediterranean basin.
Ankara and Rome also both back Libya's U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which signed two separate pacts with Turkey on Nov. 27 – one ensuring military cooperation and the other on shared maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The maritime deal gives Ankara access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean, despite objections from Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration and Egypt.
As a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
The maritime pact asserted Turkey's rights and clarified the TRNC's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration.
Earlier this year Greece signed an agreement with the Greek Cypriot administration and Israel on the Eastern Mediterranean pipeline, or EastMed, a huge pipeline project to ship gas to Europe.
Greece also recently signed a maritime border accord with Italy on the Ionian Sea, settling sovereign rights and aiming to bolster its hand in a territorial dispute with Turkey.
NATO allies Greece and Turkey have long-standing disputes, including over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean.
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