Turkey criticizes the US-Greek Cypriot agreement
An agreement between the State of New Jersey’s National Guard and the Defense Ministry of the Greek Cypriot administration infuriated Türkiye, a fervent supporter of the divided island’s Turkish Cypriot population.
On Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry denounced the agreement for “encouraging the militarization of the Greek Cypriot side.”We denounce the agreement that was signed between the New Jersey National Guard and the Greek Cypriot Administration’s (GCA) Ministry of Defense under the framework of the State Partnership Program run by the National Guard Bureau and authorized by the U.S. Following the GCA’s participation in this program in October, the Department of Defense,” the ministry stated in a statement.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Foreign Ministry’s statement on this matter is supported by Turkey, it was added. “By relaxing the arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot government in 2022, the United States upset the equilibrium on the island of Cyprus to the detriment of the Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot side’s arming is likewise being encouraged by these most recent actions.
In the statement, it was stated that “we urge on the U.S. to reconsider this approach, which in no way helps the stability of the region, and to help find a fair, enduring, and sustainable solution to the Cyprus issue.”
The ministry emphasized that Türkiye, “as a homeland and guarantor, will never let any damage to occur to the Turkish Cypriots,” and that Ankara would keep taking all necessary measures to protect their security.
Despite numerous diplomatic attempts to reach a comprehensive settlement, the island has been locked in a conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots for decades. Turkish Cypriots were forced to retreat into enclaves in the early 1960s because of ethnic violence for their own protection. Turkish Cypriots were subjected to violence and persecution as a result of a Greek Cypriot coup in 1974 that sought to conquer the island. As a result, Turkey intervened militarily as a guarantee power to defend Turkish Cypriots.
In 1983, the TRNC was established. Recent years have seen an intermittent peace process, including a failed 2017 effort in Switzerland sponsored by the guarantor nations of Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom. When Greek Cypriots stopped a U.N. mission, their government was granted EU membership in 2004. a plan to resolve the ongoing disagreement.
Even though authorities emphasized that Washington still supported a potential settlement on the divided island, the U.S. proceeded to relax the arms embargo on the government of the Greek Cypriots last year.
Potential exports to the Greek Cypriot government will continue to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to Erika Olson, deputy assistant secretary of state, to make sure they meet US foreign policy and national security goals.
The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 and the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 specify the requirements that must be met by the Republic of Cyprus (the Greek Cypriot administration) in order to permit the lifting of defense trade restrictions for the fiscal year 2023. Secretary (of State Antony) Blinken made this determination earlier this year. Every year, the (State) Department evaluates whether these requirements are being followed. In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) last year, she stated, “Like Turkey, our goal is a calm, safe, and prosperous area where we work together against Russian aggression.
Turkish officials have used the embargo’s relaxation as proof that the United States had given up on its “balancing” policy between the TRNC, the island’s neighbor, and the Greek Cypriot administration, which is still subject to international embargoes.