NICOSIA – Turkey, which keeps 40,000 soldiers on the occupied northern third of Cyprus, is planning to send reinforcements in reaction to the United States lifting an arms embargo for the Greek-Cypriot side that’s a member of the European Union.
Speaking to broadcaster CNN Turk in an interview, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the lifting of the restrictions was “inexplicable in terms of content and timing,” adding to his fury against Greece as well.
Earlier in September, US Secretary of State of State Antony Blinken said the lifting of trade defense restrictions for Cyprus would begin in fiscal year 2023 after some 35 years.
During that time, Turkey maintained troops in the occupied territory that’s not recognized by any other country in the world, with Erodgan insisting that must change as he has rejected any idea of reunification.
“The United States, which overlooks and even encourages the steps by the Cypriot-Greek duo that threaten peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean, will lead to an armament race on the island with this step,” Erdogan said in ominous tones.
“Will we stand by? We cannot,” he said, adding that Turkey already has 40,000 troops on the island and will reinforce them with land, naval and aerial weapons, ammunition and vehicles, Erdogan said.
“Everyone must know that this last step will not go unresponded and that every precaution will be taken for the security of the Turkish-Cypriots,” Erdogan said in tones as belligerent as used against Greece in which he warned of an attack.