Duvar English

Turkey on Aug. 27 issued a new Navtex to carry out live-fire gunnery exercises in the eastern Mediterranean on Sept. 1 and 2.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the Navtex was issued to ensure the safety of the exercises off the coast of İskenderun in the eastern Mediterranean.

“We have to ensure the safety of the activities there as our Energy Ministry continues its works,” Akar said.

The Navtex issued at 9.30 a.m. comes as Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy conduct joint military exercises south of Cyprus amid heightened tensions between Turkey and Greece.

The two NATO states have been locked in a bitter dispute over control of eastern Mediterranean waters which escalated after Ankara sent a seismic survey vessel to the disputed region this month in a move which Athens called illegal.

They are at odds over claims to potential hydrocarbon resources based on conflicting views about the extent of their continental shelves in waters dotted with mostly Greek islands.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the deployment of French military aircraft in Greek Cyprus violated treaties regarding the control and administration of the island after independence from Britain in 1960.

Aksoy said that France’s stance was dangerously encouraging Greece and Cyprus to further escalate tensions in the region.