NATO -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation -- is conducting large-scale exercises in eastern Turkey this week, along with country's border with Greece.
GV Battleship Hermes in background with landing craft advancing towards shore
SV Landing craft approaching shore and soldiers onto beach (3 shots)
SV Marine urging Turkish soldiers out of landing craft and up beach
GV Troops off landing craft
GV Commanders watching from special viewing position (2 shots)
GV ZOOM OUT Tanks over countryside (4 shots)
SV Tank firing
SV Fighter overhead
GV Tank and assault vehicles on move (2 shots)
This film is serviced with commentary by B.B.C. reporter Clifford Luton. A transcript appears overleaf.
REPORTER: CLIFFORD LUTON
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: NATO -- the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation -- is conducting large-scale exercises in eastern Turkey this week, along with country's border with Greece.
Seven nations -- including Britain, the United States and Turkey -- are taking part in the manoeuvres, code-named "Deep Express 75". The exercises began on 12 September and continue until 29 September. On Thursday (25 September) Turkish forces aboard the British assault carrier Hermes staged a mock landing from the Aegean Sea, while other units simulated battle conditions on shore.
"Deep Express 75" is designed to test NATO strength in the area following the strains imposed by Turkey's invasion of Cyprus last year. Observers from all NATO nations are attending the manoeuvres, including General Alexander Heig, Supreme Allied Commander in Southern Europe.
No Greek forces, however, have joined the exercise. Tension between Greece and Turkey has remained high since last year's Cyprus conflict, but newsmen were told at a special briefing that Greece had raised no objections to the manoeuvres ... which are taking place in an area over which Greece and Turkey have disputed for many years.
Greek approval for "Deep Express 75" adds strength to Turkey's case for a resumption of United States' military supplies. The U.S. Congress will meet in the next few days to consider lifting the Turkish arms ban, imposed following the Cyprus invasion. Turkish officials have worked hard to drum up support for their case -- and the timing of the current NATO exercises, in which Turkish forces are playing a major part, illustrates the vital role Turkey plays on NATO's vulnerable southern flank. For Turkey, the exercise has as much political significance as military.