Tur­key to start ‘big­gest mil­i­tary ex­er­cise ever’

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

TUR­KEY is pre­par­ing to hold its “big­gest ever” mil­i­tary ma­noeu­vres in a 462,000km2 area that will in­clude Cyprus.

Called Blue Home­land, the ex­er­cise will be held from Fe­bru­ary 27 to March 3 in the eastern Mediter­ranean, tak­ing in wa­ters the Greek Cypri­ots claim as their Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone.

The ex­er­cise, de­scribed as a “first in Tur­key’s his­tory”, will see par­tic­i­pa­tion of Turk­ish naval, land and air forces, and will in­clude “all seas” of Tur­key.

De­scribed by some com­men­ta­tors as a “war re­hearsal”, it comes af­ter Turk­ish De­fence Min­is­ter Hu­lusi Akar had vowed to pro­tect Ankara’s “sov­er­eign” ar­eas against “Greek and Greek Cypriot at­tempts to oc­cupy” the coun­try’s wa­ters.

An­a­lysts said the ex­er­cises were de­signed to send a clear mes­sage to Egypt, Greece, Is­rael and South Cyprus.

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