Turkey has confirmed establishing an armed drone base in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus amid rising tension in the Middle East.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Wednesday Turkey has created a drone base in the north during a speech he gave in Ankara where he scolded Israel for its role in the rising conflict with the Palestinians.
Noting that Ankara will continue efforts against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has never been “any friend of ours,” Erdogan justified the presence of the drone base as a means for Turkey to defend itself against a possible attack.
Erdogan said Turkey’s support to its Palestinian “brothers and sisters” on humanitarian aid, and other issues will continue.
Turkey first sent a surveillance and reconnaissance drone to the occupied north in December 2019 to bolster Ankara’s energy search in the region amid rising tension in the Mediterranean over natural gas resources.
Turkish Daily Hurriyet said the drone was to be part of a small fleet “accompany the drilling vessels and naval forces of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean taking off Lefkoniko airport”.
The arrival of the drone followed an earlier decision of the Turkish Cypriot ruling coalition to accept Turkey’s request to allow Turkish Air forces to use Lefkoniko as a base for armed and unarmed drones.
It was understood the Turkish Cypriots designated Lefkoniko as a base for Turkish drones to support Turkish drilling exploits in the region.
Erdogan said Turkey currently has five drilling and research vessels and does not need to rely on anyone.
“Now we hope to deliver good news, sometime soon about oil and gas.”
Erdogan also said that on a July 20 visit to the north of Cyprus, he would be delivering “essential messages” to the whole world.
“We need to be strong against any attack that may occur in the region. In order to be strong, you should be fully present in the air and on land and at sea.”