Ankara, Turkey – The National Defense Ministry announced that ‘Martyr Captain Cengiz Topel Mediterranean Storm Exercise’ will be held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on September 6-10, the statement said.

The purpose of the exercise, which is planned every year, is to develop mutual training, cooperation and interoperability between the Cyprus Turkish Peace Forces Command and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Security Forces Command,” the ministry added.

“Martyr Captain Cengiz Topel Mediterranean Storm Exercise” will be held in the TRNC on September 6-10 by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and elements of the TRNC Security Forces Command.

The ministry said that the annual exercise is aimed at improving mutual training, cooperation, and interoperability between the Turkish Cypriot Peace Force Command and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Security Forces Command.

The five day exercises will be held with the participation of the ground, air and naval forces. High tension has been running for weeks in the Eastern Mediterranean as both Turkey and Greece have been conducting military maneuvers in the area.

Greece disputes Turkey’s current energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, trying to box in Turkish maritime territory based on small islands near the Turkish coast. Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean, has sent out drillships to explore energy reserves on its continental shelf.

Turkey has been firm in declaring that Turkey and the TRNC have rights in the region. Turkey earlier said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA) and the TRNC, which has issued Turkey’s state oil company Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) with a license for exploration.

Meanwhile, both NATO countries have called on their allies for support, urging the international community, NATO, and EU to mediate between them.

The drill was named after Turkish pilot and officer Cengiz Topel, who was born on September 3, 1934 in İzmit, Turkey. In 1964, during a warning flight of the Turkish Armed Forces in Cyprus, the Greeks hit the plane by a missile. He parachuted, but was tortured to death in Cyprus. Topel’s body was handed over in August 1964 at the insistence of Turkey. He is the first missing pilot of the Turkish Air Force.