Seven countries are reportedly expected to join Turkey's international drill in the Eastern Mediterranean, with the Defense Ministry's efforts to include them are ongoing.
Algeria, Georgia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Libya, Lebanon and Tunisia are expected to join the "Mediterranean Shield" naval exercise, pro-government daily Yeni Şafak reported on April 27.
The drill, which has been carried out annually since 2006, was initially joined by Pakistani and Jordan navies, making it international.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar reportedly discussed the issue with his Tunisian counterpart Imed Hazgui in phone call last week.
The efforts to expand the drill began two years ago, with the ministry carrying out talks with nine countries, which have a coast in the Mediterranean or use the trade and energy transfer lines over the Mediterranean.
The participants of the exercise are expected to contribute by providing certain types of support, including sharing information.
In November 2019, the ministry said that the drill was "the largest ever in terms of the number of participants.
"The 2019 Eastern Mediterranean Exercise is ongoing, with the participation of almost 4,700 personnel and 48 ships from 15 countries," it said.