Ankara, Turkey – Turkey has issued a new navigational telex to carry out “gunnery exercises,” which involve live fire, in the Eastern Mediterranean on September 1 and 2, according to the Turkish Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography.

The Navtex was issued at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday. It comes as Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy conduct joint military exercises south of Cyprus and amid heightened tension between Turkey and Greece over energy prospecting rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

According to reports, the area reserved for the exercises extends from the southern Turkish town of Mersin to the northern coast of Cyprus.

Turkey ‘happy’ to talk but warns against ‘testing’ Turkey’s power

The Turkish government “would be happy” to host its Greek counterparts “if they decided to have talks in the next days,” the Turkish defense minister, Hulusi Akar, said on Thursday.

“Turkey favors dialogue (over maritime issues),” Akar said in response to the spike in tension between the two neighbors in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We want peace, but we also want our rights,” Akar said, adding however that “Turkey’s power should not be tested.”