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Letter from Athens: Will Turkey Annex Occupied Cyprus? Erdogan’s Big Call

October 7, 2022

Watching Russia effortlessly annex four Ukrainian territories and fully understanding that the Useless Nations, Eunuch Union, and the NATO Defenseless Alliance would do nothing, Turkish Sultan President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sniffing around Cyprus.

He keeps some 40,000 troops there on the occupied northern third seized in two unlawful 1974 invasions, with the implicit support of the United States, and now is furious that an American arms embargo was lifted on the Greek-Cypriot legitimate government that’s a member of the EU.

Erdogan long ago gave up any idea that Turkey would be admitted to the bloc, the prospects worsening under his authoritarian rule which has seen journalists jailed and driven into exile, civil society, the courts, military and education systems purged after a failed 2016 coup attempt against him.

The man whom Wolfgang Kubicki, Vice-President of Germany’s Bundestag Lower Parliamentary chamber called a “little sewer rat” – leading Erdogan to sue him for defamation – has correctly gauged he can do almost anything he wants and get away with it.

He said Turkey – which means the occupied Turkish-Cypriot territory too – no longer would even talk about reunification, demanding recognition instead for the isolated self-declared republic no other country in the world accepts.

Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin ‘Yes Mr. President’ Tatar does whatever Erdogan tells him, giving new meaning to the term lackey, and with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades finishing his corruption-stained 10 years in power in 2023, there won’t be any doors open for talking about unity.

Turkey props up the failed phony republic on the island with financial assistance, which is getting tougher to do with 83 percent inflation weakening the economy under Erdogan, who thinks he’s a banker too and sets interest rates.

In June, Cyprus complained to the UN – which has zero interest in hearing it – that more Turkish funding for the occupied land showed Turkey’s “complete control” over the Turkish-Cypriots.

Anastasiades told state broadcaster CyBC that he would also include in the protest letter Turkey’s move to designate the Turkish-Cypriots’ unrecognized, main airport as a domestic flight route, effectively turning it into a Turkish one.

Many liberal Turkish Cypriots feared the financial deal and the airport designation were signals that Erdogan wants to eventually annex the breakaway state, the Associated Press said then.

Turkey can deploy any weapons it wants on Cyprus, including those acquired from the United States for decades – which is illegal under U.S. law – but doesn’t want Cyprus having the right to defend itself.

The embargo just drove Cyprus into the arms of Russia in the past and it took until now for the United States to realize that wasn’t such a good idea in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, especially with Turkey buying Russian S-400 missile systems that undermine NATO and could be used against Greece and Cyprus in a conflict.

Erdogan, naturally, wasn’t happy because he wants defenseless foes, which is why he’s also insisting that Greece remove troops from Aegean islands, which would leave them open to invasion.

The EU has no military, NATO wouldn’t intervene even if Turkey invaded the rest of Cyprus, the United States plays both sides against the middle, and UN officials are only concerned about what today’s free lunch is.

Politics abhors a vacuum, and Erdogan, smelling weakness and anticipating the departure of Anastasiades in February 2023, with a field of candidates so anonymous their mothers wouldn’t know them, could make the occupied side of Cyprus part of Turkey.

Could it happen? What would the international community’s response be?

“Turkey is still bluffing and tries to exercise psychological pressure on Greece, hoping that Athens will bend and then Ankara will extract concessions. That is for the short term,” Ioannis Michaletos, an associate of the Institute for Defense & Security Analysis in Athens told The National Herald.

He is an expert in the field and knows Erdogan’s volatility – though he has a caveat. “For the long term there is a danger that Erdogan will try to get Athens off guard once the opportunity arises, such as a wider global destabilization in which Turkey would assume that nobody would care for the fate of Greece.”

That’s because Greece – with Turkey and the United Kingdom, the island’s former Colonial ruler – is a guarantor of security on the island and, while having no choice but to defend Cyprus in case of a further invasion, would be in a quandary over annexation.

Erdogan’s showing signs of getting bolder and tougher on Cyprus, as he did with Greece, threatening that his forces would “suddenly come one night,” the preferred time of day for rodentia.

In response to the lifting of the arms embargo he said military reinforcements would be sent to the occupied territory, essentially daring a comeback and chuckling loudly when there was none.

Speaking to broadcaster CNN Turk in an interview, Erdogan said the lifting of the restrictions was “inexplicable in terms of content and timing,” adding to his fury against Greece as well, and it should have set off alarm bells on sleepy Cyprus too.

“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.

“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,” he said. Annexation is a much bigger step though, but he could come suddenly one day and do it.

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