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BREAKING NEWS

Turkey conducts largest naval exercise

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By Bulent Usta

ON BOARD FRIGATE BARBAROS (Reuters) - Turkey's military conducted the second day of its largest naval exercise in its history on Thursday, carrying out drills with frigates, corvettes and submarines in the Black Sea, Aegean and eastern Mediterranean.

The nine-day exercise is aimed at testing the readiness of command bases and operation centres throughout Turkey's territorial waters, the defence ministry said.

On board the frigate TCG Barbaros, gunners fired live ammunition at mock targets floating on the waves. Nearby, helicopters lowered soldiers onto a ship's deck, while other personnel deployed a remotely operated underwater vehicle.

The Barbaros was deployed in the Aegean Sea north of the Gallipoli peninsula, close to Turkey's land border with Greece. The two NATO allies came to the brink of war in 1996 in a sovereignty dispute over islets in the Aegean.

As part of the drill, the Turkish bases are also planning operations and testing them on a locally developed naval warfare game system, the defence ministry said.

(The story corrects headline and lead to clarify Thursday is the second day.)

(Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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