The attention of Greece's armed forces will be focused on the southeastern Aegean for the next few days as the United States, Israel and Turkey launch joint military exercises in the Mediterranean. The three countries have asked Athens for permission to use areas south and east of the Dodecanese island of Kastellorizo to conduct a search and rescue training exercise. Athens has made it clear to both the USA and Israel that this zone is part of Greek territorial waters as it fears an attempt by Turkey to legitimize a possible challenge to Greece's rights in the area. The navies and air forces of the three countries are taking part in the drills, dubbed «Reliant Mermaid X,» which are due to run until this Friday. Eight ships, four helicopters and three search and rescue aircraft are involved. Hosted by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, it is the 10th such exercise involving the allies in as many years.