Sharing a common interest in securing offshore mineral exploration areas throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, Israel and Cyprus are tightening defense cooperation through a series of air and naval exercises conducted over the Islands’ southern coast. The relations between Israel, Cyprus and Greece are warming since 2008, as Israel’s close relations with Turkey deteriorated since the rise of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to power.

According to Cypriot Defense minister Fotis Fotiou, Cyprus’ relations with Israel are entering a new phase. “I am confident that the strategic dialogue that began several months ago will benefit both countries and will continue on all areas, including energy security.” Fotiou said while visiting a bilateral exercise the Israel Air Force conducted in Cyprus earlier this month, the Cyprus mail reports.