Turkey has carried out naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, the defense ministry said Sunday, against a backdrop of tensions with its neighbors over energy exploration in the region.

Iran PressAsia: The Turkish defense ministry said on its Twitter account that "elements of our navy command" conducted the exercises, without specifying the location other than "eastern Mediterranean".

Howeverو it posted photos showing a naval vessel firing a cannon.

Turkey is at loggerheads with EU members Greece and Cyprus over energy resources in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean.

The exercises follow an announcement by the European Union on Dec. 10 of plans to impose sanctions on Turkey over its "illegal and aggressive" actions in the zone.

On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a videoconference call that Turkey wants to turn over a new leaf with the European Union.

He insisted that Turkey's attitude was "constructive" while accusing Greece of running away from talks.