Turkey slams deal between US, Greek Cypriots
A memorandum of understanding that has been signed this week between the U.S. and the Greek Cypriot administration will harm efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue instead of contributing to peace and stability, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said early on Sept. 14.
“The MoU signed between the U.S. and the Greek Cypriot administration on Sept. 12, 2020, and envisaging the establishment of a ‘Land, High Seas and Port Security Center’ in the Greek Cypriot administration, ignores the Turkish Cypriot side,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
The steps were taken by the U.S. in lifting an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriots and including the Greek side in its International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, disrupts the balance between the two nationalities on the island and increase tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Aksoy said.
In this respect, it is striking that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not meet with the TRNC during his visit to the island, he added.
“We call on the U.S. to return to its traditional policy of neutrality regarding the island and to contribute to the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue,” he underlined.
On Sept. 1, the U.S. partially lifted an arms embargo on the Southern Greek Cypriot administration while Pompeo has announced in July that the U.S. has included the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus in its military training program for 2020.
After the forcible division in 1963 of the Cyprus island by the Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots suffered under a campaign of ethnic violence.
In 1974, following a coup aimed at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded.
For many decades, talks have been held to resolve the dispute, all of which failed. The latest was held with the participation of the guarantor countries, Turkey, Greece and the UK, which ended in 2017 in Switzerland.