U.S. Sen. Menendez Wants All Turkish Troops Off Cyprus

November 16, 2022

NICOSIA – US Senator Robert Menendez, a strong supporter of Greece and Cyprus, said Turkey must remove its 35,000 troops on the occupied northern third of the island and that he will try to block the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.

He was speaking during an online event anniversary to talk about the 39th anniversary of Turkey declaring a Turkish-Cypriot republic that no other country in the world recognizes.

The event was put together by the Coordinating Committee of the Cyprus Struggle (PSEKA) The Cyprus Mail said, and was attended by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, US Senators Chris Van Halen, John Sarbanis and Dina Titus, the Presidential Commissioner Fotis Fotiou, the President of PSEKA Philip Christopher and representatives of Cypriot and Greek expatriate groups.

Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denounced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s aggression and demands for two separate states on the island.

The last round of reunification talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Erdogan said Turkey’s army would never leave the island and he has since insisted instead on recognition for the occupied land.

“Erdogan’s continuing willingness to flex his authoritarian muscles to Cyprus and around the world means that it is more important than ever that America stands shoulder to shoulder with the Republic of Cyprus,” he said.

While he said he was happy that US President Joe Biden decided to end a decades-long arms embargo against the Greek-Cypriot government that’s a member of the European Union he opposed Biden’s idea to sell Turkey more F-16s and upgrade the Turkish Air Force.

“The threat of the occupied area is one that has to be taken very seriously. The US should not put any F-16 fighter jets in President Erdogan’s hands. I will not approve any F-16s for Turkey until he holds his campaign of aggression across the entire region,” he added.

US Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Florida Republican, said, “We continue to focus on the illegal occupation of Cyprus. Much more work needs to be done. All Cypriots deserve an end to the senseless division of their homeland.”

US Rep. Chris Pappas, a New Hampshire Democrat, said Turkey’s invasions and occupation in 1974 can’t be forgotten. “We know what the Turks did, they removed people from their communities.”


NICOSIA — Cypriots are voting Sunday for a new president who they'll expect to decisively steer the small island nation through shifting geopolitical sands and uncertain economic times that have become people's overriding concern, eclipsing stalemated efforts to remedy the country's ethnic division.

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