The military said 17 warplanes, based in the central Turkish airbase of Eskisehir, and eight frigates took part in the “High Seas Exercises.”
Turkey’s navy and air force, which back the UN-supported government in Libya, have conducted exercises in the Mediterranean Sea near Libya, officials said on Friday.
The Turkish military said the drill was meant to test and develop Turkey’s ability to command and execute long-distance operations. A government official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, said the manoeuvres took place in international waters and airspace off the coast of Libya.
The military said 17 warplanes, based in the central Turkish airbase of Eskisehir, and eight frigates took part in Thursday’s “High Seas Exercises.”
"During the 8-hour mission extending nearly 1050 NM (2000 km) away from Turkish territorial waters, command and control procedures were practised, exercises that included in-flight refuelling, joint naval-air operations were conducted and the maritime and air picture was built and shared," the defence ministry statement said.
In an effort to practice and improve the uninterrupted conduct of long-distance operational tasks directed by operations centers in Turkey, Turkish Naval and Air Forces conducted High Seas Exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.https://t.co/Z0gmpGOEBg pic.twitter.com/Jew0e5yosw— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) June 12, 2020
Turkey has sided with Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) against warlord Khalifa Hafter militia, who launched an offensive in April last year to capture the capital.
With Turkey’s military support, Libya's army has gained the upper hand after retaking the capital’s airport, all main entrance and exit points to the city and a string of key towns near Tripoli.
Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed.
Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while Libya's government is aided by Qatar, Italy and Turkey.
Separately, Turkey has also signed a maritime deal with the GNA that would give Ankara access to an economic zone across the Mediterranean, despite objections from Greece and Egypt. Turkey has said it will begin exploring for natural resources there within months.