ANKARA

Ahead of new technical talks between Turkey and Greece to reduce tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece has issued an alert that it will hold maritime shooting drills on a Turkish national holiday, in what seems a deliberate provocation.

After Greece issued a Navtex alert for Oct. 29, Turkey’s Republic Day, Turkey in response issued its own Navtex alert for shooting drills for a day prior, Oct. 28.

While Turkey is working to take necessary steps to solve the Eastern Mediterranean problems through dialogue, Greece seems to be undermining these efforts.

Security sources said Greece’s announcement violated the principle of not holding military activity during countries’ national days recently agreed to under confidence-building measures between the countries.

“Greece once again revealed its true intentions by violating a principle the parties agreed on, while Turkey has been laboring to resolve the problems through the principle of good neighborly relations and international law,” said one source, who asked not to be named to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Tensions have recently escalated regarding the issue of energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has disputed Turkey’s energy exploration, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast.

Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean, has sent drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, saying that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also have rights in the region.

To reduce tensions, Turkey has called for dialogue to ensure fair sharing of the region’s resources.

* Written by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

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