26 August, 2020
France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are on massive maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean,
The aeronautical exercises Codenamed ‘Eunomia’ was launched on Wednesday off the southern shores of Cyprus, the host country of the war game. The drill was announced earlier in the day, by Athens’ defense minister, saying they are to reinforce “the rule of law as part of the policy of de-escalating tensions.”
This was also confirmed by France, having dispatched its ‘Lafayette’ frigate, as well as three Rafale fighter jets. Cypriot and Italiana vessels were confirmed to have joined the exercise in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.
A day prior, separate drills kicked off near the Greek island of Crete, this time involving Hellenic and US armed forces.
These military exercises seem to be upping the charge in the rankle dispute between Greece and Turkey. Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads over contending issues, from historical discords to overlapping territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Tensions recently flared up when a trove of gas and oil was discovered in the contentious waters. Ankara made an announced this that its Oruc Reis research vessel will carry on navigating the disputed waters between Cyprus and Crete. The announcement by Ankara caused outrage in Greece viewing the research activities as unlawful and an affront to its sovereignty.
The trading of harsh statement between Ankara and Athens over the issue in recent days raised concerns in Europe. Berlin`s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, who was sent to try and calm the rivals down said while in Athens, “playing with fire,” suggesting that sabre-rattling could evolve into a “catastrophe.”