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Turkish air force pulls out of military exercise in Athens

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Turkey’s air force has pulled out of a military exercise scheduled to be held in Greece next month, Agence France-Presse reported, citing security sources who alleged on Saturday that preparatory documents singled out Ankara.

The military exercise, dubbed “Tiger Meet,” is intended to promote solidarity between the participating states’ fleets and is held annually.

This year, it will take place in Athens between May 9 and 20.

Turkish security sources said host countries draft a text each year made up of technical regulations ahead of the planned exercise and that this year Greece targeted Turkey in the document.

The sources accused Greek authorities of making additions to the document that “abuse disagreements between the two countries,” without providing precise details.

According to Turkish authorities, the additions were “intentional” and prompted the air force command to ask for changes.

But Greece refused to accept them, the sources said.

Turkey decided to pull out of the event, claiming that “Greece manipulates Tiger Meet for its political interests,” and informed Greek authorities on April 22, they added.

Greece and Turkey, NATO allies but regional rivals in the eastern Mediterranean, often trade barbs over Aegean airspace violations.

Turkey on Friday accused Greek warplanes of violating its airspace over the Aegean Sea, which Turkish security sources said happened 30 times in 72 hours.

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