AP News

Turkmenistan holds naval drills on Caspian


ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan has held its first naval drills on the Caspian amid a dispute with Azerbaijan over a section of the oil-rich sea.

Tensions over how the inland Caspian Sea should be divided among the five surrounding nations, which also include Russia, Iran and Kazakhstan, started after the 1991 Soviet collapse.

The drills held Wednesday near the western seaport of Turkmenbashi involved an exercise in repelling a naval attack on ships and oil refineries.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov said that they "showcase the defense potential" of the Turkmen navy.

They follow tensions over Azerbaijan's interception of a Turkmen scientific ship in the disputed area in June.

The European Union is trying to broker a deal for an undersea pipeline linking Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan that could carry Turkmen gas toward Europe.


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