Turkish President Erdogan Claims Aegean Military Exercises Don’t Target Greece

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. File photo

Speaking with Turkey’s Kanal 24 and TV-360 TV stations on Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that his country’s latest military exercises were not directed against Greece.

Erdogan said that ”the Greeks appeared to be frightened of” the country’s latest military exercise in the region, adding that they shouldn’t, because ”the exercise was not directed against them.”

Erdogan was referring to the broad-based military exercises dubbed ”Blue Homeland” which took place from February 27 to March 8, 2019. The exercises, involving many military units, took place in the Black and Aegean Seas and the Eastern Mediterranean, in an effort to show Turkish military strength in the region.

The Turkish president also referred to the ongoing natural gas exploration taking place in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. He noted that Turkey has contacted some of the companies that are currently in the region to see whether they would be interested in conducting joint explorations with Turkey’s participation.

However, the Turkish president did not mention which companies he has contacted.

The foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Katrougalos and Mevlut Cavusoglu, are expected to meet later this month, as agreed upon during Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Ankara earlier this year. Katrogalos and Cavusoglu will specify the measures at that meeting which they reportedly hope will ”build trust” between the two countries.