x

Politics

Turkey Warns US Lift of Cyprus Arms Embargo Will Hike Tension

December 18, 2019

NICOSIA – With the US Congress lifting a 32-year-old arms embargo keeping Cyprus – but not Turkey – from getting weapons, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said that could create a showdown on the island where tension has risen over Turkey’s drilling for energy offshore.

Turkey said letting Cyprus buy arms to protect itself would undercut long-failed efforts to reunify the island that was split when Turkey unlawfully invaded in 1974, seizing and still occupying the northern third and keeping a 35,000-strong army there.

US lawmakers voted to end the embargo that was implemented in 1987 to prevent an arms buildup although Turkey was still allowed to purchase weapons that could be transported to its self-declared republic on the island no other country in the world recognizes.

The US decision “will have no outcome other than hampering efforts towards a settlement on the island and creating a dangerous escalation,” the Turkish foreign ministry said without mentioning Turkey has ramped up tension with its drilling.

The bill “repeals existing restrictions on the United States from transferring and exporting weapons, and defense articles and services to the Republic of Cyprus,” the Cyprus News Agency reported earlier, after it had been approved by the Senate in the summer.

Turkey wanted American lawmakers to drop a provision in the annual defense authorization bill that would lift the United States’ three-decade arms embargo on Cyprus, reported Al-Monitor at the time.

“The longstanding US policy has purposefully not taken sides among peoples of the island or guarantor states to avoid promoting an arms race that might lead to an undesired or unintended consequences,” Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic wrote in a pair of identical letters to the Chairman and top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee: Reps. Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.

Sen. Bob Menendez, from New Jersey, close to the Greek-American and Cypriot-American communities, had initially pushed for the arms embargo to end as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

RELATED

NICOSIA — Cyprus' president has scrapped plans to grant free-of-charge, around-the-clock use of state-financed luxury vehicles to top civil servants amid a public outcry over a perceived waste of taxpayers’ money, a government spokesman said Monday.

Top Stories

Culture

If you are reading this today, you can thank your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and previous ancestors for your existence.

Politics

A former senator, minister, cabinet secretary, chief of staff to Australian former PM John Howard for more than a decade, Arthur Synodinos is Australia’s ambassador to the United States since 2020.

General News

Anton "Tony" Mandros, 87, of Portsmouth, RI, passed to his eternal reward on January 19.

Video

In Mourning Yet Again, NYC Prepares to Honor Fallen Officer

NEW YORK — A city reeling from a recent spate of violence prepared to lay to rest a rookie police officer being hailed as an inspiration to his immigrant community, as investigators sought to make sense of a domestic dispute that left another officer "fighting for his life.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.