CYPRUS: Turkey launches largest ever naval exercise in show of regional strength

Ankara on Wednesday launched what it calls “the biggest military exercise in the history of the Republic of Turkey” in regional muscle-flexing with a stern message aimed at Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

The large-scale navy exercise is seen as a show of force toward neighbours Greece, Cyprus and Israel who are cooperating in the East Med on an energy platform a region where Turkey has its own claims on underwater wealth.

Turkish war games also coincide with Cyprus ready to announce its latest findings from oil and gas exploration drills by ExxonMobil.

The Blue Homeland 2019 exercise, with the participation of frigates, destroyers and fighter jets, takes place in the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Mediterranean through March 8.

The “Blue Homeland” as the exercise is dubbed by the Turkish armed forces will last until 8 March and will take place simultaneously in three places, the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea, with the participation of 103 ships.

Turkey’s exercise will see 5 frigates, two submarines, two naval vessels, a passenger ship, a support ship, four new types of coastguard vessels and three ships carrying SATs, SAS (navy commandos) taking part in the exercise in the East Med.

In total 13 frigates, 9 corvettes, 16 cruisers, 7 submarines, 7 naval vessels, 17 support vessels, 14 coastguard vessels, will participate in the war games.

Turkey’s land forces are to test out for the first time newly acquired UMTAS and CIRIT firearms and unmanned drones will also take part in the exercise.

Source: The Financial Mirror