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Turkish naval forces have deployed today in the eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea in what the press considers the largest military maneuvers in the history of the republic.
“The Patria Azul 2019 maneuvers have begun, which will last until March 8,” the Turkish Ministry of Defense confirmed in a brief statement on its website.
For the first time, this type of maneuvers is carried out simultaneously in the three seas surrounding Anatolia, deploying 103 ships and several Air Force aircraft, as well as special units of the Army, reports the Turkish agency Anadolu.
The exercises involved 13 frigates, six corvettes, 16 missile launchers, seven submarines and as many minesweepers, among many dozens of smaller vessels.
The maneuvers have aspects of electronic warfare and anti-missile and laser-guided missile systems developed by the Turkish military industry will be tested.
In addition, the movements are coordinated with the maneuvers of NATO called “Dynamic Manta”, launched on Monday in the Central Mediterranean, and in which Turkey participates with a frigate, an aircraft and a submarine.
This deployment comes at a time when tensions with Greece and Cyprus increase due to the Turkish initiative to look for hydrocarbons in the waters surrounding the divided island of Cyprus.
Ankara has severely criticized the exploration of natural gas in southern Cyprus, claiming that the Greek Cypriot government should not use underwater resources before reaching a political agreement with the Turkish Cypriot side.
At the same time, a Turkish seismic vessel has conducted surveys to search for hydrocarbons in the maritime zone between Turkey and Cyprus, without close to the Anatolian coasts and without reaching Cypriot waters.
According to the Turkish Government, the drilling phase has been completed and the drilling phase has begun.
However, an Anadolu military analyst believes that the maneuvers “Blue Homeland” have a much broader objective and aim to mark the presence of Turkey as a geopolitical naval power, with an eye on areas of tension such as the Persian Gulf or the Horn of Africa, where Ankara has already established military bases.
This commitment to a strong fleet will be crowned soon with the delivery of the vessel TCG Anadolu, which is currently being built at the Tuzla shipyard in Istanbul, and which is modeled according to the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I.
The delivery of Anadolu was expected for 2021, but last December it was announced that it could take place by the end of 2020.
Source: La Vanguardia