Turkish Military Scraps Major Drills

The Turkish army said May 24 it had canceled two major military exercises in the Aegean Sea region in the west, where tensions with neighboring Greece are high.

The annual Efes exercises, involving land, air and naval drills, and the Denizkurdu (Sea Wolf) maneuvers, held at sea every two years, have been canceled, said a brief statement on the army’s website without elaborating. The general staff had organized a press tour for the maneuvers, scheduled to start on May 25.

Despite notable improvements in their ties over the past decade, NATO partners Turkey and Greece remain at loggerheads over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea.

In 2006, a Greek pilot was killed when his plane collided with a Turkish jet during a mock dogfight over the Aegean.

Diplomats from the two countries have been holding so-called “exploratory talks” behind closed doors since 2002 in a bid to resolve the dispute. A 51st round of meetings was held at Turkey’s Aegean resort of Cesme last week.

Ankara – AFP