The Turkish navy carried out operational readiness training in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean seas from April 22 through April 24, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
According to the statement, 27 warships, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) participated in the training.
Meanwhile, frigates of the Turkish and Italian navies also conducted a joint training session in the Eastern Mediterranean on April 23.
"TCG Salihreis and Italian frigate ITS V. Fasan operating in NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 and Turkish Navy units TCG Gaziantep and TCG Rüzgar have conducted maritime training at Eastern Mediterranean on April 23 2020," the Defense Ministry said.
Last May, Turkish-flagged drillships began offshore drilling operations in areas off the coast of Cyprus. The areas fall entirely within the Turkish continental shelf registered with the United Nations and in permit licenses the Turkish government in previous years granted to Turkish Petroleum, the country's national oil company.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area. Greek Cyprus unilaterally declared its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which Turkey says violates part of its shelf, particularly in Blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Turkey has the longest shoreline in the Eastern Mediterranean, making it a natural candidate for seeking reserves in the region in accordance with international law. The presence of the Turkish Cypriot government in Northern Cyprus also strengthens Turkey's hands as the country defends the rights of the Turkish Cypriots in the region and insists that their consent is needed for any type of drilling activities.
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