With the European Union imposing only soft sanctions for Turkish energy drilling off Cyprus, Air Forces from Greece, France and Italy joined Cypriot fliers on Aug. 26 for a three-day military exercise in waters south of the divided island.
The drills, dubbed Eunomia, for Rule of Law, were targeted at Turkish provocations, being stepped up with demands by Turkey that Turkish-Cypriots take part in the licensing of foreign companies drilling in Cypriot waters.
Turkey has occupied the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion and its constant irritations, along with insistence on keeping a 35,000-strong army and wanting the right of military intervention brought an end to reunification talks in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.
In a statement, Greek Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos said “the initiative… aims to demonstrate the commitment of the four European Mediterranean countries to the rule of law as part of the policy of de-escalating tensions,” Turkey posting ships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo and planning to drill off Crete.
Greec's state-run Athens-Macedonia news agency (ANA-MPA) reported that three French Rafale fighter jets and three Greek F-16 aircraft landed at the Andreas Papandreou military base in Paphos and that the French frigate Lafayette will also take part in the military operation.