Turkey to strengthen military presence in Cyprus
Turkey will send military reinforcement to Northern Cyprus, as a response to the US which lifted the military restrictions on Cyprus Republic, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday .
During a special programme presented live on Turkey's CNN Turk TV, Erdogan said the US turned a blind eye, and even promoted the steps taken by Greece and Cyprus in the East Mediterranean and denounced Washington’s recent decision to lift an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration.
“Our expectation from the US is not to involve Greece in wrong calculations and not to allow the manipulation of international public opinion,” he said.
Erdogan said the move “will not go unanswered” and pledged to take all necessary steps to protect Turkish Cypriots living in the self proclaimed TRNC (Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.)
“Currently, we have approximately 40 thousand soldiers there. But apart from that, we are taking steps regarding our weapons, ammunition, vehicles, equipment, etc.” Erdogan said.
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been ethnically split since 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.
The 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 is only recognized by Turkey.