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Turkey announces military exercises near the Greek island of Lesvos

The shooting exercises will take place in the Aegean Sea on September 19 and 20, the Turkish Navy's hydrographic service said on September 18.

According to two naval navigation announcements by NAVTEX, the exercise will take place in the region of 39 N. 26-27 E between the islands of Lesvos and Chios and off the coast of Turkey.

As the Greek newspaper Proto Thema emphasizes, the exercises are being held ahead of the upcoming meeting of the European Union, at which sanctions against Turkey are to be discussed. At the same time, Turkish President Recep Erdogan declares his readiness to demonstrate military might in response to the visit of the Greek President to the Greek island of Kastelorizo.

Recall that relations between Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean have worsened after Turkey sent the research vessel Oruc Reis to the area of the Greek continental shelf. Greece announced its readiness to defend its sovereignty, including in a military conflict.

The Turkish government claims that it is conducting research on its own shelf and justifies this position by denying the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to which islands have equal rights to sea zones with continents. Instead, Turkey proposes to compare the length of the coastline of Turkey and individual Greek islands, as well as focus on the proximity of the islands to Turkey itself.

Greece offers Turkey negotiations on the issue of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones, without linking it with other acute issues of Greek-Turkish relations, and only on the condition of the absence of blackmail. To do this, she demanded to withdraw Oruc Reis from the disputed region.

Turkey insists on negotiations on all problems and without preconditions. Nevertheless, on September 12, Oruc Reis left the disputed area of the sea. The Greek side supported this action as a step towards de-escalation.

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