15:07 GMT +320 July 2019
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    Turkish Navy vessels cross the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul, Saturday, March 9, 2019, upon completion of massive drills by the Turkish Navy entitled Mavi Vatan – the Blue Homeland.

    Turkey Begins Largest Naval Exercises in Three Neighboring Seas

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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey launched its largest naval exercise, dubbed Denizkurdu-2019 (Sea Wolf), on Monday across the three seas it borders, the Turkish Ministry of Defence said.

    "[Turkey's] largest naval exercise, Denizkurdu-2019, which will take place from May 13-25 in the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean seas, will feature 131 vessels, 57 airplanes and 33 helicopters. 25,900 troops will participate in the event. The goal of the exercise is to improve coordination between the naval units in times of crises", the ministry said in a statement.

    It also noted that the Turkish Navy would carry out strategic and operational exercises that simulate real-life wartime and crisis situations, and also test its warships' anti-missile defence systems.

    ​Turkey previously held this exercise in the same three seas back in February. With 130 vessels involved, it was then considered the country's largest naval drills.

    Turkey has been steadily modernizing and expanding its naval force. By 2023, the country will reportedly have a total of 24 new ships, including four frigates. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Turkey's defence budget in 2018 was $19 billion, a 24 percent increase year-on-year.

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    naval drills, Turkish Ministry of National Defense, Turkey
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