NEWS

Ankara announces naval exercises despite 'moratorium'

YANNIS PALAIOLOGOS, VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Turkey, Defense

Turkey issued a navigation warning (navtex) announcing naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean for Oct. 27-28, hours after NATO's Secretary-General announced that Greece and Turkey agreed on Friday to cancel military exercises that were scheduled on each other’s national holidays on October 28 and 29, respectively.

“Both Greece and Turkey have decided to cancel military exercises which were planned for next week,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after chairing a virtual meeting of NATO defense ministers.

“These are steps in the right direction, they help to reduce the risks of incidents and accidents,” he added, expressing hope that the move would have a positive effect on German-mediated efforts to ease tensions between the two NATO allies and rivals.

Turkey’s aggressive stance in the Eastern Mediterranean was slammed by the spokesperson of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in what was seen as another indication of Ankara’s increasing regional isolation. Israel, Lior Hayat said, is following recent developments with concern, noting that some unilateral actions by Turkey could lead to escalation and endanger the fragile stability in the region.

Israel, he stressed, reiterates its full support and strong solidarity with Greece in its maritime area and its opposition to any attempt to violate these rights.

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