Turkey starts naval exercise amid Cyprus gas dispute

Turkey considers the area to be part of its continental shelf and granted exploration licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012. (AFP/File)
Updated 13 May 2019
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Turkey starts naval exercise amid Cyprus gas dispute

  • The exercises, featuring 131 vessels, 57 planes and 33 helicopters, began early on Monday
  • They are due to last until May 25 and take place across the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas

ANKARA: Turkey’s military launched a major naval exercise on Monday at a time of rising tensions over its plans to explore for gas off the coast of Cyprus.
The exercises, featuring 131 vessels, 57 planes and 33 helicopters, began early on Monday, a Turkish defense ministry official confirmed to AFP.
They are due to last until May 25 and take place across the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas.
It follows Turkey’s announcement in May that it would carry out exploratory drilling off Cyprus up to September.
The European Union has said that will encroach on Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, while the United States described the move as “highly provocative.”
The international community does not recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, proclaimed after troops occupied the top third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta.
The discovery of huge gas reserves in the Mediterranean has fueled a race to tap the underwater resources.
Turkey considers the area to be part of its continental shelf and granted exploration licenses to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012.
The internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which rules the rest of the island, has signed its own exploration deals with energy giants Eni, Total and ExxonMobil.
Speaking on Sunday, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar insisted Turkey would take all necessary measures to “protect its rights in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, and in Cyprus.”


Two killed in attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

Updated 2 min 22 sec ago
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Two killed in attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

  • North Sinai has long been a hotspot of extremist insurgents, mainly the local affiliates of Daesh
  • The attack hit forces stationed near a parking lot in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai

CAIRO: Two people including a civilian were killed in a suicide bomb attack Thursday targeting security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, medical and security sources said.
The attack hit forces stationed near a parking lot in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, the sources told AFP.
One member of the security forces was killed and three others were wounded, while a civilian also died in the bombing.
The armed forces confirmed in a statement one of its soldiers had been killed in the assault, without mentioning the civilian or other casualties.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
North Sinai has long been a hotspot of extremist insurgents, mainly the local affiliates of Daesh.
Last year, Egypt launched a massive offensive mainly with the aim of wiping out the militants in the turbulent region.
Hundreds of militants have been killed along with dozens of soldiers, according to official figures which cannot be verified as Sinai is largely cut off to journalists and independent investigators.