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Turkey conducts exercises in Eastern Mediterranean amid tensions with neighbors

Published: Updated:

Turkey has carried out naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, the defence ministry said Sunday, against a backdrop of tensions with its neighbours over energy exploration in the region.

The defence ministry said on its Twitter account that "elements of our navy command" conducted the exercises, without specifying the location other than "eastern Mediterranean".

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However it posted photos showing a naval vessel firing a cannon.

Turkey is at loggerheads with EU members Greece and Cyprus over energy resources in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

The exercises follow an announcement by the European Union on December 10 of plans to impose sanctions on Turkey over its "illegal and aggressive" actions in the zone.

On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a videoconference call that Turkey wants to turn over a new leaf with the European Union.

He insisted that Turkey's attitude was "constructive" while accusing Greece of running away from talks.

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