Turkey slams Washington for military partnership with Cyprus

Turkey slams Washington for military partnership with Cyprus
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Turkish Foreign Ministry blamed the US for becoming “partial” in the political dispute of divided Mediterranean island

Turkey condemned the United States in strong terms for including the Republic of Cyprus to a military partnership programme. 

“With this move, going beyond disrupting the balance between the two sides on the island, the US has evidently become partial,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

On Friday, the Pentagon announced Cyprus’ inclusion in the State Partnership Programme and the cooperation between the two countries’ National Guards.

“This selection demonstrates the growing partnership between the Republic of Cyprus and the United States,” a US Defense Ministry statement said.

The latest move that has came two weeks after the US lifting arms embargoes on Cyprus ,“has no justification,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Washington on Sept.16 said that it has fully lifted defense trade restrictions for Cyprus for the fiscal year 2023, another US move that has strongly denounced by Turkey.

“The Republic of Cyprus has met the necessary conditions under relevant legislation to allow the approval of exports, re-exports, and transfers of defense articles” to the country, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s office said. The embargo on Cyprus had been in force since 1987.

“With such moves, the US is losing its opportunity to play a constructive role for a fair, permanent and sustainable settlement of the Cyprus issue,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Cyprus has been ethnically split since July 20,1974, when Turkish military intervened in response to a Greek Cypriot coup d’etat, ordered by the military junta in Greece, aiming to unify the island with Greece (ENOSİS). Internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, governed by the Greek Cypriots, controls the south of the island, and the Turkish Cypriots, the north. The administration in the northern part of Cyprus, founded in November 1983, is only recognized by Turkey. Numerous diplomatic efforts for the reunification of the island, have failed. 

Turkey will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of Turkish Cypriot people, Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

In response to the US decision of lifting the arms embargo on Cyprus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Ankara will strengthen its military presence in northern Cyprus, where it still keeps around 40,000 troops.