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Turkey Conducts Major Naval Exercise as Jets Violate Greek Airspace

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Greece is monitoring a huge Turkish air and naval exercise which is currently taking place south of Crete and southeast of Rhodes, defense sources in Athens said on Thursday, as Turkish jets again violated Greek airspace over the Aegean.
The exercise, dubbed “Mavı Vatan” (Blue Homeland), began on Wednesday and is planned to conclude on May 3.
According to Greek sources, the drills are intended to demonstrate Ankara’s determination to lay claim to the maritime area south of Crete following the bilateral agreement with Libya in 2019, which Greece and the wider world has denounced as illegal.
The Turkish exploration vessel Yavuz is currently conducting drilling as well in the maritime area southeast of Rhodes and west of Cyprus.
On Tuesday, Greece and Cyprus once again condemned Turkey’s drilling activities off the Mediterranean island. Nicosia says that the arrival of the Yavuz in the waters to the southwest of the island is the sixth illegal drilling operation by Ankara in Cyprus’ economic waters.
New violations
Meanwhile, a pair of Turkish fighter jets on Thursday entered Athens’ Flight Information Region (FIR) without submitting a flight plan and flew over two islets of the eastern Aegean, the Greek National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) said.
The F-16s flew over Farmakonissi at 19,500 feet shortly before 11 AM and then just seven minutes later flew over the island of Agathonissi at an altitude of 5,500 feet.
The aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek fighter jets, according to the accepted international rules of engagement, GEETHA said.

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