The Armed forces of Turkey started on Sunday the annual exercises in the breakaway republic of northern Cyprus, which is an entity recognized just by Ankara, with the increase of tensions with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s pursuit of gas and oil reserves in waters demanded by Greece has set big pressure on the relationship between the two NATO members.
President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, raised on Saturday the risks and alerted Greece when he said: They will either understand the language of politics and diplomacy or on the field through bitter experiences.
NATO reported previously that technical discussions would begin to avoid incidents between the two navies of the countries, however, Athens declared that it’s doesn’t accept the discussions and Ankara accused Greece of refusing dialogue.
Moreover, Vice President, Fuat Oktay, reported on Twitter that with the rise of tension, the Turkish military starts its exercises named Mediterranean Storm with the Turkish Cypriot Security Command. He said: The security priorities of our country and the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) are indispensable.
The Turkish defense ministry also declared in a tweet that the exercises, which are expected to still until Thursday, advanced successfully. It should be noted that Cyprus is divided between the Greek Cypriot-run south, an EU member state, and the Turkish Cypriot north.
Furthermore, Turkey has deployed tens of thousands of troops in the north of the island since it attacks in 1974, after a coup managed by military rulers in Athens.