Greek Navy vigilant during massive Turkish military exercise

turkish navy warship

The Greek military is vigilant while Turkish naval forces mobilise at the Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris.

Athens is watching the Turkish Navy mobilise at the Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris for the massive DENİZKURDU-II exercise with interest and vigilance.

The Turkish military exercise was cancelled last year as part of efforts to reduce tensions in the Aegean Sea, but this year, it is being carried out normally, as are similar training activities of the Greek Armed Forces.

The Turkish Ministry of Defence announced that this exercise is the largest ever held in the Aegean. It will involve more than 100 warships, eight submarines, 39 fighter jets, flying radar and support aircraft, 16 helicopters, 28 UAVs, seven unmanned surface vessels, teams of special operations, personnel and means of the coast guard, and 15,000 members of the Turkish armed forces.

The "flagship" of the exercise will be the Turkish Navy's new amphibious operations ship, Anadolu, which is participating for the first time in "DENİZKURDU-II."

The first phase of the exercise, which includes preparing the forces, will be completed on Sunday. On May 13, the day Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be in Ankara for the planned meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the operational scenarios of "DENİZKURDU-II" will begin.

In them, according to the Turkish Ministry of Defence, all domestically developed weapon systems will be tested, and live fire will be fired from ships, aircraft and helicopters against aerial, land and naval targets.

The Navy is vigilant

According to the NAVTEX and NOTAMs that have already been issued, Ankara is locking down areas mainly near the Turkish coast and, in some cases, in the Central and Eastern Aegean.

The concentration of a large number of Turkish forces near Greek islands and the planned live-fire exercises put Greek military staffs on alert—the Navy mobilised fleet forces to discreetly monitor the activities of the Turkish armed forces. The fleet's ships and submarines are expected to be deployed in the Central and Eastern Aegean until May 18.

Unmanned systems will also provide information to the National Operations Centre.

It is worth noting, however, that Athens does not expect any escalation from the Turkish side, as since the beginning of 2023, no major provocations have been recorded in the Aegean, although Turkey has violated Greek air space on numerous occasions.

Nonetheless, Ankara has yet to move from its fixed positions regarding questioning Greek sovereign rights and brings back the narrative of the necessity of the demilitarisation of the Greek islands at every opportunity.

"Co-training" in the Aegean

The NATO exercise Ramstein Flag 24, which will be hosted in Greece in October, will also see cooperation between the Greek and Turkish militaries.

More than 140 planes will use Andravida and Araxos as their base for the largest air exercise of the Alliance, the organisation of which is undertaken for the first time by the Air Force.

Naturally, the Turkish Air Force also received an invitation, which, according to Kathimerini, responded positively. This will be one of the few times in which Greek and Turkish fighter jets participate in training within the Athens Flight Information Region.

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