Türkiye will respond to Washington’s lifting of the arms embargo on Greek Cyprus and its efforts to escalate tensions “with a concrete step,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.
“We, as the guarantor country, have to defend the rights of the Turkish Cyprus. It is our right to protect and watch over our Turkish brothers there,” Çavuşoğlu said on the program “City Meetings Towards 2023” in the Aegean province of Muğla.
“We do not give our rights to anyone in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.”
Stating that they wrote two letters to the U.N. regarding the armament of the islands, Çavuşoğlu said, “It is our determined and confident steps that have made Greece so crazy, who gave weak and political answers to these letters but did not give a legal answer.”
“We wrote the third. Let’s see when Greece will respond to this with a demagogic letter,” he added.
Ankara prefers diplomacy to solve problems, Çavuşoğlu said, criticizing Greece for “behaving in the opposite way.”
“We have always protected and will protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots. Türkiye won’t allow a return to the old days,” the minister added.
Underlining that the Defense Ministry made assessments on this issue, Çavuşoğlu said Türkiye will deploy whatever is necessary on the island.
“The lifting of the arms embargo by the U.S. on Greek Cyprus has no explanation either in terms of content or timing,” Erdoğan also said in an interview broadcast on Sept. 28.
He also warned that the U.S. move of lifting the arms embargo on Greek Cyprus could cause a race of armament in the region.
“The U.S., which ignores and even encourages the Greece-Greek Cyprus duo’s steps that threaten peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean, will cause an arms race on the island with this step. Will we stop? We can’t stop.”
In a statement issued on Sept. 17, the Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the expansion of the scope of the decision taken by the U.S., highlighting that the country “fully supports” the reaction of Turkish Cypriot authorities regarding the decision.
On Sept. 16, the U.S. totally lifted the arms embargo on Greek Cyprus for a year, which started in 1987, and partially lifted it two years ago.
Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis called the decision a “milestone,” while Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar criticized it, saying, “The Greek Cypriots will take courage and increase the tension.”
Ankara called on the U.S. to “reconsider the decision” and “pursue a balanced policy towards the two sides on the island.”
The U.S. State Department said the reason behind the decision was to “decrease the Russian influence on the region.”__Daily Hurriyet