EU Countries to Hold Military Exercise in Eastern Mediterranean

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The Greek Ministry of Defence announced on Wednesday, that Greece, France, Italy, and Cyprus, will hold military exercises south of the island of Crete. Tensions are at an all-time high, between Athens and Ankara.

The drills, dubbed ‘Eunomia’ are scheduled for August 26-28. These are part of cooperation agreements between the four countries to address the escalating tensions in the Mediterranean. The statement indicated that this tension increased disagreements over issues related to the maritime domain, such as border demarcation, migrations, and the flow of refugees.

Three French Rafale fighter jets, and three Greek F-16 jets arrived at Paphos’ Andreas Papandreou airbase. This is in anticipation of aerial exercises in which the Cypriot National Guard will also participate. The French naval frigate Lafayette will also take part in the exercises starting on Wednesday.

Greece and Cyprus have claimed that Turkey is violating their exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Ankara has sent its seismic research vessel Oruc Reis, and a slew of naval escort vessels to areas it claims are part of its continental shelf. On Tuesday, the Oruc Reis was in waters between Cyprus, and Crete.

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, visited Athens and Ankara on Tuesday in an attempt to calm tension between the two countries. Both states are members of NATO, and Maas called for dialogue to avoid a conflict in the Mediterranean.