There are reports of intensive air and naval activity in the Eastern Mediterranean as global and regional powers flex their muscles amidst increasing tensions around the situation in Syria.
Israel, the United States and Greece are currently involved military in manoevres that have been described by the Israeli media as being aimed to test a response to any potential Turkish hostility against Cypriot offshore oil platforms. This claim has however been dismissed by Turkish officials.
In the meantime Turkey has also extended its traditionally land-based “Anatolian Eagle” Military Exercises to the Mediterranean, with the inclusion for the first time ever of the Turkish Navy in the manoevres, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
Russia has also moved one of its destroyers from the Black Sea Fleet to the Mediterranean. The destroyer was expected to call in the Syrian port of Taurus this week on what has been described as a technical call. In accordance with the Montreux Convention Russia informed Turkey of the passage of the destroyer through the Bospherous.
The Eastern Mediterranean has traditional been an area of tension between the navies of the local powers. Despite the fact that relations between Turkey and Greece are now much improved, tensions over Cyprus and some unresolved disputes on Aegean Islands continue to cause lack of confidence between the two NATO allies. On top of this Turkey’s strained relations with Israel and Russia’s continued support for the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad have turned the region into an area of intense competition.
source: LINKS Analysis with Hurriyet Daily News
photo: Turkish Jets on manoevres (Archive picture, courtesy of the Turkish General Staff)