France Sends Navy as Tensions Rise With Turkey

France is boosting its presence in the Eastern Mediterranean to support Greece in its standoff over disputed waters with Turkey.

    2020/08/20

NSFW    PARIS — France is boosting its presence in the Eastern Mediterranean to support Greece in its standoff with Turkey, adding two Rafale fighter jets, the frigate La Fayette and the Tonnerre amphibious assault helicopter carrier to its forces in the area.

The French Ministry of the Armed Forces announced the decision on Thursday, August 13, according to a report in Le Monde.

The move comes after Turkey announced on Tuesday, August 11 that it had dispatched the Oruc Reis seismic exploration ship, accompanied by warships, to disputed waters in the region.

Turkey says the Oruc Reis will search for hydrocarbons in an area comprising two-thirds of Greece's exclusive economic zone until August 23, according to an article in the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Turkey's claims in the Eastern Mediterranean overlap with the exclusive economic zones of Greece and Cyprus in waters mostly dotted with Greek islands.

The contested area is believed to be rich in untapped oil and natural gas fields.

Le Monde reports the Rafale jets were in Cyprus to help patrol the Cyprus exclusive economic zone and are now relocating to Souda, on the Greek island of Crete.

On July 23, President Macron denounced "violations" of Greek and Cypriot sovereignty by Turkey in its exploration of gas resources in the area.
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