LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Wednesday completed a two-day joint military exercise in Northern Cyprus.
The Martyr Ensign Caner Gonyeli-2023 Search and Rescue Invitation Exercise started on Tuesday with the land phase.
The sea phase of the exercise concluded on Wednesday with a search and rescue operation carried out within the scope of a standard scenario, taking place outside the territorial waters of the TRNC in the Turkish Search and Rescue Region, off the coast of Famagusta.
As many as 13 military representatives from six countries – Azerbaijan, Djibouti, Kosovo, Qatar, Libya, and Pakistan – attended the naval part of the exercise as observers.
Its aim was to protect the rights and interests of Türkiye and the TRNC in the Search and Rescue (SAR) area in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It also sought to strengthen the sovereignty of the TRNC, and to draw public attention regarding the significance of search and rescue operations and region boundaries.
Addressing the participants, TRNC Vice President and Parliament Speaker Zorlu Tore said the exercise was carried out successfully, and "our security units, police force and heroic army are always ready, both in war and peace."
Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Mehmet Saglam said the drill will take bilateral cooperation between Türkiye and the TRNC one step further.
"The responsibility of ensuring security, peace and stability in such a critical region and protecting our rights and interests arising from international law in the Eastern Mediterranean lies on our shoulders," he added.
Turkish Coast Guard Commander Rear Adm. Ahmet Kendir said Türkiye will continue with its efforts to support the TRNC and increase mutual cooperation.
"The exercise carried out today by our search and rescue elements, which can successfully perform their duties 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is an indicator of our reaction speed and the effectiveness of our search and rescue organization in case of accidents that may occur in the surrounding seas," Kendir said.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Türkiye fully supports a two-state solution on the island based on sovereign equality and equal international status between its two states.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.