Turkish Defence Ministry announces Blue Homeland 2021 naval exercise

Turkey announced on Monday that its naval forces would be conducting exercises in the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea, according to a Ministry of National Defence (MoD) statement

The exercises, dubbed Mavi Vatan 2021 or Blue Homeland 2021, will involve a wide array of Turkish military assets including 82 warships, marine units, drones and Coast Guard elements.

According to the MoD, the drills will involve training in live-fire scenarios and actively make sure of unmanned vehicles to “create real-life operational conditions.” 

These exercises are taking place following a complaint from Greece over Turkish seismic survey vessels operating in the area. Last Thursday, the Turkish Navy announced that the Cesme research vessel would be operating in the northern Aegean Sea until March 2. 

Both sides consider the area to be international waters but Greece protested that it was the only party responsible for issuing maritime advisories there. 

Greece and Turkey recently engaged in the 61st round of exploratory talks in Istanbul over the maritime issues between them. Athens says it suggested a date for the 62nd round but has received no reply yet from the Turkish side. 

Greek officials say that these discussions are informal talks and not negotiations.