Slovakian forces were due to take part in the exercise called “Anadolu Ankasi 2021,” which will be ongoing from May 24 to June 4, when they realized that occupied northern Cyprus had also been officially invited by Turkey.
Slovakia then withdrew its participation, according to an announcement by the Greek Foreign Ministry.
The news was conveyed by Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok to his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias at an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Lisbon, who emphasized his country’s commitment to international law and European solidarity, according to the Ministry.
Dendias welcomed this action and thanked his Slovak counterpart for his swift response.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey, responding to a Greek-sponsored coup, invaded the island, occupying nearly 40 percent of it.
Turkish occupation troops remain there to this day. The northern part of the island is recognized only by Turkey.
Following Slovakia’s withdrawal, the exercise is continuing with the participation of forces from Turkey’s closest allies, Azerbaijan and Qatar.
Uluslararası Anadolu Ankası Tatbikatı başladı. Konya'daki 3'üncü Ana Jet Üs Komutanlığımızda gerçekleştirilen tatbikata millî unsurlarımızın yanı sıra Azerbaycan, Katar, KKTC ve Slovakya unsurları da katılıyor.#AnadoluAnkası2021 pic.twitter.com/8Dca7qn3jm
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) May 25, 2021
The Anadolu Ankasi 2021 exercise, hosted by Turkey, aims to improve training, cooperation and interoperability among personnel in a realistic operational environment, the Turkish General Staff announced.
Turkish fighter aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles are participating in the exercise, joined by Azerbaijan Mi-17 helicopters, Agusta AW-139 helicopters, C-130 and C-17 aircraft from Qatar and a AS-532 helicopter and 1 team from occupied northern Cyprus.
There are also personnel from the USA taking part in the exercise.
Greece spectacular military exercise with US forces
Greek and US forces held a joint military exercise near Xanthi in northern Greece this week, as part of the mutual defense cooperation agreement between the two NATO allies.
The final phase of the bilateral U.S.-Hellenic Army exercise “IMMEDIATE RESPONSE/ CENTAUR 21,” part of the huge pan-European exercise Defender-Europe 2021, was completed on Tuesday.
It was a tactical exercise at the “Brigade” level, with live fire and with participation of units from Greece and the US, with the contribution of Great Britain in the field of Logistics.
Among the US forces participating in the exercise were the 1-131 Aviation Battalion’s Blackhawks their Alabama National Guard counterparts and the 1-167 Infantry Battalion.
Greece’s Deputy Minister of National Defence Alkiviadis Stefanis who attended the exercise held at the Xanthi Tank Firing Range highlighted the high level of cooperation and the excellent outcome of interoperability of personnel, procedures and assets.
“This training of the Hellenic and American Forces further promotes the long-term defense cooperation between Greece and the United States, inspired by the common desire for a substantial contribution to the security, stability and prosperity of our wider region.
“The will to further strengthen the long-term defense bonds of the two nations remains common and aims to ensure and maintain strong, efficient and interoperable Armed Forces, by consolidating their deep strategic relations,” the Greek minister said.