The Greek Navy has been put on a state of 'full readiness' following the beginning of a nine-day Turkish naval exercise in the disputed Aegean Sea.
The Greek Navy has been put on a state of 'full readiness' following the beginning of a nine-day Turkish naval exercise in the disputed Aegean Sea. A large part of the Greek fleet, anchored in Phaleron Bay near Athens, was reviewed by President Constantine Tsatsos and Defence Minister Evanghelos Averoff-Tossiza on Sunday (4 July) -- the day the Turkish fleet set off on its manoeuvres.
SYNOPSIS: President Tsatsos -- he's the smaller man -- and Defence Minister Averoff arrived in neighbouring Zea Bay to the strains of the Greek national anthem to board the frigate 'Ierax' for the fleet review. Apart from the navy, the army and air force have also been put on full readiness.
The Turkish Government said its naval manoeuvres, in a joint exercise with the air force, are only part of an annual training programme to improve co-operation between the two branches of the armed forces.
The Greek fleet has much the same number of larger fighting ships as the Turkish navy -- 27 destroyers, corvettes, frigates and submarines, against 30. The Turkish navy however, has a total complement of 225 craft -- about 100 more -- and has two and a half times the manpower of the Greek fleet.
Greece and Turkey are in dispute over the oil rights of the Aegean Sea. Turkey recently announced its intention of sending an oil exploration ship into disputed areas of the Aegean. Greece warned all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies that it would resort to force if this happened. Both countries are members of NATO, although Greece announced a partial withdrawal from the Organisation's military structure following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The Turkish oil exploration vessel is expected to set sail on July the seventh, in the middle of the Turkish manoeuvres.