Turkey deploys naval units to east Med

In a recent dispute between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over drilling for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey has given the green light to its military to station units in various critical zones in the region in order to conduct surveillance and monitor activities, the Bugün daily reported on Monday.

Turkey has deployed frigates and choppers in the eastern Mediterranean carrying naval units, including Special Underwater Defense Units (SAS) and Special Underwater Attack Units (SAT), Bugün reported. These specially trained units have been given orders to keep 10 critical zones of hydrocarbon exploration under surveillance, in line with a map prepared by the Turkish military that defines risky zones in the area.

Turkey dispatched four frigates, one logistical support vessel and three naval choppers in accordance with a military decree dating back to Aug. 15 to work in shifts around these zones. The first troops currently deployed are expected to monitor activity until Nov. 15, with two following shifts already planned to provide coverage until August 2012, the daily reported.

Turkey has increased activity on the Mediterranean high seas since Greek Cyprus began drilling for sources of hydrocarbons in its self-proclaimed exclusive economic zone (EEZ), drawn in confidential agreements with Israel last year. Turkey rejects the Greek Cypriot EEZ, claiming that because there is a territorial dispute between the Turkish and Greek sides of the island, drilling should be delayed until reunification negotiations bring a solution.


10 October 2011, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, ANKARA