22:25 GMT24 June 2021
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    A joint air and naval military exercise being held by Egypt, Greece and Cyprus in the Mediterranean is a source of serious concern for Turkey, who sees them as being aimed against it, Turkish political scientist and ex-MP Oya Akgonenc Mugisuddin said in an interview with Sputnik.

    “There are several reasons why these countries decided to hold this joint drill. It’s primary target is Turkey, who has been actively building up its position in the region. The fact is, however, that Turkey has no plans against Egypt, Israel, Greece or Southern Cyprus, while Greece and Southern Cyprus have,” Mugisuddin said.

    “They always want to extract concessions from us. Because this is exactly what they do, they think that the other side has the same desires,” she added.

    The expert believes that since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president, Egypt, who had previously actively cooperated with Arab countries and the Muslim world as a whole, has been distancing itself and increasingly kowtowing to the US and Israel.

    “When it comes to the situation in Gaza and other regional problems, Egypt acts as one of Israel’s best friends, that are why its participation in the joint drills with Greece, Southern Cyprus and Israel is no surprise at all,” he said.

    She added that Turkey will apparently try to ramp up its combat readiness in the region and develop its own strategy and tactics.

    “On the one hand, these exercises are a sort of a psychological test for Turkey while on the other – a real military training for the participating countries.”

    She said that the drill may also be viewed as a tactical maneuver to determine the participants’ readiness for real combat.

    “Turkey will show restraint, but it is ready to respond any moment,” Oya Akgonenc Mugisuddin emphasized.

    On Thursday, the defense ministers of the three countries attended the main phase of the drill codenamed Medusa-6  being  held in the Egyptian portion of the Mediterranean Sea and vowed to expand  their military cooperation.

    Egypt and Cyprus have previously held a series of joint exercises with Israel.

    READ MORE: Greece Accuses Turkey of Violating Int'l Law by Obstructing Drilling in Cyprus

    Cyprus was de facto split in 1974 when Turkey invaded the island after a coup staged by supporters of unification  with Greece.  Turkey remains the only country to recognize the Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and keeps more than 35,000 troops in Cyprus' north.

    When Cyprus joined European Union in 2004, Turkish Cypriots were left out in the cold after the island’s majority Greek population rejected reunification in a referendum.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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