Joint Emirati–Greek military training in Greece amid mutual tensions with Turkey

ATHENS — Nine Emirati warplanes arrived in Greece on Thursday to participate in joint military exercises.

Within the framework of joint Emirati–Greek cooperation, the General Staff of the Greek Armed Forces announced the arrival of nine Emirati warplanes to the Souda Military Base in Greece.

In a statement published on its website on Thursday, the General Staff of the Greek Armed Forces stated that among the aircraft that arrived at the base were four General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcons, one Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport plane, and three Boeing C-17 Globe Master III transport planes.

The General Staff indicated that the training would focus on joint Emirati–Greek air cooperation with the aim of increasing the readiness to conduct missions and develop combat capabilities. The exercises come in the wake of increasing tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean region over the demarcation of marine borders. In recent weeks, Turkey has been conducting legally questionable exploration operations in areas that Athens considers part of its continental shelf.

Greek–Emirati relations have consolidated as both seek to curb Turkish influence in the region. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) views Turkish policy throughout the Middle East, and particularly its involvement in Libya, counter to its own interests. The UAE supports the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Haftar in its war against the Turkish-backed government of National Accord (GNA) led by Al-Sarraj.