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Turkey to Hold Major Mediterranean Naval Gunnery Exercises, Lashes out at France

Turkey on Thursday announced a series of major new naval exercises near its shores and accused NATO partner France of “bullying” as the conflict over Mediterranean energy riches escalates.

The Turkish navy said it would stage “gunnery exercises”along the bounadary of it territorial waters in the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea in the middle of next week.

 Defence Minister Hulusi Akar warned the drills were “security related” and were in no way connected to Turkey’s unrelenting search for natural gas that has pitted it against Greece and the European Union.

 In this photo provided by the Turkish Defense Ministry on Aug 10, 2020, Turkey’s research vessel, Oruc Reis, in red and white, is surrounded by Turkish navy vessels as it was heading in the west of Antalya on the Mediterranean, Turkey. Greece says it will conduct a navy and air force exercise in an area of the eastern Mediterranean where Turkey is prospecting for oil and gas in an area as the neighboring countries remain locked in a dispute over offshore energy rights. (Turkish Defense Ministry via AP, Pool)

The two NATO members have been staging rival war games in a conflict that could imperil Europe’s access to vast new energy deposits and further destabilise war-torn Libya and parts of the Middle East.

The Turkish defence minister did not say whether the Oruc Reis research vessel and its accompanying navy frigates would leave waters claimed by Greece on Thursday as planned.

But he warned: “There’s neither a deadline nor a limit” to Turkish exercises and exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

“They will be carried out as much as they are needed … We are determined to protect our rights.”

As Breitbart London reported, Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads since the Turkish research vessel Oruc Reis last month set sail for an area in the Mediterranean to conduct research.

Greece responded by putting its forces on alert, while Turkey despatched warships of its own to escort the Oruc Reis.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed without evidence the Greek navy “attacked” the research vessel, but that was played down by Greek media who instead pointed to a minor collision between the two.

Read More Here:     Breitbart

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