Turkey launched a major naval exercise on Monday (13 May) in a show of force that comes amid mounting tensions over its plans to start drilling off Cyprus.
The exercise will last until 25 May and will take place in the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea with 131 warships, 57 warplanes and 33 helicopters, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.
Last week, that Turkey’s first drilling vessel, “Fatih”, sailed off to the Mediterranean to start the country’s first deep-sea drilling operations off the southern coast of Cyprus.
EU member states have called on Ankara to immediately stop its “illegal drilling activities” in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“I am a Cypriot [on this matter],” EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said at the Sibiu EU summit last week.