Turkey says US decision to lift embargo on Cyprus will increase risk of conflict in the region
Top Turkish government officials have slammed a U.S. decision to lift for one year its 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus to allow the sale of “non-lethal” military goods to the island. Turkish government officials have warned that this "unjust decision" has the potential to damage the peace on the island and also to increase the tension in the Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece.
Duvar EnglishUS to lift 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus, angering Turkey
Turkish government officials have slammed a U.S. decision to lift a 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus, warning that this move will increase the risk of conflict in the region.
Numan Kurtulmuş, deputy chair of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said the U.S.' decision will increase the tension in the Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece.
“As a guarantor country, we will take a stand against this unjust decision which will damage the peace on the island of Cyprus, and we will proceed on our way for the region's peace and welfare through a power which we get from the international law,” Kurtulmuş wrote on Twitter.
Kıbrıs adasındaki barışa zarar verecek bu adaletsiz kararın garantör ülke olarak karşısında duracağız ve bölgenin huzuru ve esenliği için uluslararası hukuktan aldığımız güçle yolumuza devam edeceğiz.— Numan KURTULMUŞ (@NumanKurtulmus) September 2, 2020
AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik similarly defined the U.S.' decision as a “complete wrong” one, saying that it was the Greek side of the island that has “been causing instability and [political] deadlock.”
“This decision encourages the Greek management's unlawful demands. Turkey and TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] cannot be forced to take a decision in any other way apart from means of law, diplomacy and justice. We favor a negotiation based on justice, whereas Greece has destroyed this floor with pirate agreements. The Greek Cyprus management can in no way usurp the rights of Cypriot Turks,” Çelik wrote on Twitter.
Türkiye garantör ülke olarak KKTC’nin hak ve menfaatlerini korumaya muktedirdir. Cumhurbaşkanımızın mesajı açıktır; hak ve menfaatlerimiz konusunda hiçbir dayatmayı kabul etmeyiz ve asla taviz vermeyiz.— Ömer Çelik (@omerrcelik) September 2, 2020
Türkiye, KKTC’ye yapılmak istenen hiçbir haksızlığa izin vermeyecektir.
Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay has similarly slammed the U.S. decision, saying that Ankara will continue to take steps that will ensure the security, peace and welfare of the Turkish Cypriots on the island "in the face of such decisions which will increase the risk of conflict in the region."
“Turkey and TRNC are aware of the plots against themselves,” Oktay wrote on Twitter, adding that the Turkish nation “will unravel these plots” and “will not forgive those who have become a part of them.”
3️⃣ Türkiye ve KKTC, bölgede kendilerine karşı oynanan oyunların farkındadır. Millet olarak kararlılıkla ve kenetlenmiş bir halde bu oyunları birlikte bozacak, geleceğe beraberce yürüyecek, bu oyunların parçası olanları da affetmeyecektir.— Fuat Oktay (@fuatoktay) September 2, 2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sept. 2 that the United States will lift a 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus and deepen its security cooperation with Nicosia.
The island was divided in 1974 following a Turkish invasion triggered by a Greek-inspired coup. Turkey recognises the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognised by other countries. Several peacemaking efforts have collapsed.
Washington placed restrictions on the transfer of arms to Cyprus in 1987 to encourage reunification efforts and avoid an arms race on the island.
The decision comes amid escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean between NATO allies Turkey and Greece over claims to potential hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean based on conflicting views on the extent of their continental shelves.
Turkish Foreign Ministry said the decision "disregards the equality and balance" on the island and that Ankara expects its NATO ally to "review" it.
"Otherwise, Turkey, as a guarantor country, will take the necessary reciprocal steps in line with its legal and historical responsibility to guarantee the security of the Turkish Cypriot people," it said in a statement.