France, Italy hold exercises with Greece as Turkey tensions rise
ATHENS, GREECE ??France on Tuesday, August 25 dispatched Rafale fighter jets to Cyprus as tensions between Turkey and Greece continue to rise over claims to oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterannean.
The Cyprus Mail reports that France is taking part in a naval exercise with Greece, Cyprus and Italy that will be conducted west of Cyprus from August 26 to August 28.
The three Rafales joined three Greek F-16s at Paphos' Andreas Papandreou air base in Cyprus. French frigate La Fayette is also taking part in the exercises.
Turkey's Oruc Reis research vessel is currently looking for oil and gas deposits in disputed waters east of Cyprus, accompanied by Turkish naval vessels. According to the BBC, Ankara announced on Monday that the mission would be extended to August 27.
Meanwhile, the Greek general staff on Tuesday published photos and video footage on Twitter of a Greek-American naval exercise near Cyprus on Monday. The exercise involved the USS Winston S. Churchill destroyer and American helicopters.
Greek officials on Friday said the United Arab Emirates would send F-16s to Crete for joint training this week, the BBC reports.
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