“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.
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.
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.
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