Turkey’s armed forces on Sunday began annual exercises in the breakaway republic of Northern Cyprus – an entity recognised only by Ankara – as tensions continue to rise with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey’s hunt for gas and oil reserves in waters claimed by Greece has put a huge strain on the relationship between the two NATO members.
As tensions run high, the Turkish military began its exercises called “Mediterranean Storm” with the Turkish Cypriot Security Command, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Twitter.
“The security priorities of our country and the TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] are indispensable, along with diplomatic solutions in the eastern Mediterranean,” Oktay said.
The Turkish defence ministry also tweeted the military exercises, which last until Thursday, continued “successfully”.
Cyprus is divided between the Greek Cypriot-run south – an EU member state – and the Turkish Cypriot north.
Turkey has stationed tens of thousands of…