Israeli warships will launch a naval exercise with real ammunition in Greek territorial waters on July 18, 2012. The exercise will take place in the north of the island of Milos (Kyclades) in the Agean Sea.
Only Israeli warships will perform the exercise at the ‘shotting area’ Karavia (Milos/Myrtoo Sea), while the the coordination and monitoring will be performed by radars on the Parnitha Mt in Greek mainland. Until now no information has been given regarding the type and number of vessels that will participate. And most likely no information would be made public on the vessels, due to traditional Israeli military policy.
A NAVTEX, a maritime warning about the safety of ships and airplanes has been already issued.
The exercise in Greek territorial waters takes part in the context of Greek-Israeli military cooperation and coincidentally a couple of days after the 4-day visit of Greek navy commander Vice Admiral Kosmas Christidis in Israel, during which he met with OC Navy Vice- Adm. Ram Rothberg and sailed on a Sa’ar 5-class missile ship.
The exercise worries Ankara to see its former friend (Israel) in close cooperation with its former foe (Greece).
“Israeli war vessels are now under our noses” Turkish portal Habermonitor wrote.
However it is not just Turkey that sees with discomfort the Israel exercise in the area. This week it was also Cyprus’ turn to look sour at Israeli, British and Turkish naval forces simultaneous maneuvers near Cyprus.
Cypriot media reports claimed that Israel and the UK requested and received permission from Cyprus to hold their maneuvers but that the Turkish Navy did not, and as a result Nicosia was considering submitting an official complaint to the United Nations. (further reading Jerusalem Port)
With so many different interests the Eastern Mediterranean Sea will continue to be the field of high tensions, especially when it comes to naval exercises.