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Turkey, US Conduct Joint Exercise in E.Mediterranean Amid Tensions With Greece

© REUTERS / Murad SezerThe Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is seen being escorted by a Turkish Navy frigate in the eastern Mediterranean off Cyprus, August 6, 2019
The Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is seen being escorted by a Turkish Navy frigate in the eastern Mediterranean off Cyprus, August 6, 2019 - Sputnik International
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ANKARA (Sputnik) - The navies of Turkey and the United States have conducted joint drills in the Eastern Mediterranean in parallel with the increased presence of the European navy in the area, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

"Turkish Navy continues maritime trainings with Allied navies. Turkish frigate TCG BARBAROS and TCG BURGAZADA corvette have conducted maritime trainings with American destroyer USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL at Eastern Mediterranean on 26 August 2020," the ministry said on Twitter.

Earlier in the day, Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy began a 3-day joint military exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean as part of the so-called Quartet Cooperation Initiative (QUAD). The quartet naval presence comes against the backdrop of an escalation of tensions over Turkey's gas drilling activities in waters which Cyprus and Greece consider their exclusive economic zones.

In response to Turkey's persistent seismological activities despite the calls to vacate the disputed waters, Greece mobilized its armed forces and warned it would stand up for its sovereignty by all available means, including military. Shortly later, France increased its presence to ensure that the law of the sea is respected in the area despite the tensions.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pointed out that Ankara would make "no concessions" to Greece in the Mediterranean and warning Athens against any provocations.

"Turkey will take what is its right in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean and in the Black Sea. Just as we have no eyes over anyone's territory, sovereignty and interests, we will never compromise on what belongs to us. We are determined to do whatever is necessary in political, economic and military terms", Erdogan added.
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