Turkey angrily reacts to the US lifting the arms embargo on Cyprus

Cyprus mililtary flags soldiers Turkey

Turkey angrily reacted to Washington's historic decision to proceed with the complete lifting of the arms embargo imposed against the Republic of Cyprus in 1987 was immediate.

In a statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned this decision and made reference to the pseudo state of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", which is recognised by no other state but Turkey, and refused to make reference to the internationally recognised "Republic of Cyprus", and instead reducing it to the "Greek-Cypriot side".

The statement reads:

“We strongly condemn the expansion of the scope of the decision taken by the U.S. in September 2020 to lift the arms embargo towards the Greek Cypriot Administration.

"We fully support the reaction of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) authorities regarding the said decision.

"This decision, which is in contradiction to the principle of equality of the two sides on the Island, and which will further strengthen the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigence, will negatively affect the efforts to resettle the Cyprus issue; and it will lead to an arms race on the Island, harming peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

"We call on the U.S. to reconsider this decision and to pursue a balanced policy towards the two sides on the Island.

"The international community, including the U.S., should reaffirm the sovereign equality and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot people, which were also confirmed by the 1959-60 Agreements, and act accordingly.

"In any case, Türkiye, as guarantor country, in line with its legal and historical responsibilities, will continue to take necessary steps for the existence, security and serenity of the Turkish Cypriots, by all means."

The Cypriot foreign ministry on Saturday welcomed the total lifting of the arms embargo against Cyprus that was imposed in 1987.

In a statement, the ministry said the decision in question, “which is a result of the fulfillment of all the conditions set by the legislation ‘Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act established by the American Congress in 2019” .

“This is a milestone decision that confirms the substantial and practical strengthening of Cyprus-US bilateral relations in the fields of security and defence, of a strategic partnership conducted on the basis of International Law and the need to build conditions of security and stability in the turbulent geographical Eastern Mediterranean Basin,” the foreign ministry said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken lifted the defence trade restrictions for Cyprus for fiscal year 2023, the State Department said late Friday.

The State Department’s spokesperson, Ned Price said that Blinken, “determined and certified to Congress that the Republic of Cyprus has met the necessary conditions under relevant legislation to allow the approval of exports, re-exports, and transfers of defence articles to the Republic of Cyprus for fiscal year 2023”.

Compliance with the conditions is assessed on an annual basis, the statement noted.

“As a result of this determination and certification, the Secretary lifted the defense trade restrictions for the Republic of Cyprus for fiscal year 2023. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations will be amended to reflect the new policy, effective October 1, 2022”, he said.

The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 and the National Defence Authorisation Act for FY 2020 require that the policy of denial for exports, re-exports, or transfers of defence articles on the United States Munitions List to the Republic of Cyprus remained in place, unless the President determined and certifies to the appropriate congressional committees, not less than annually, that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is continuing to cooperate with the United States government “in efforts to implement reforms on anti-money laundering regulations and financial regulatory oversight, and that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has made and is continuing to take the steps necessary to deny Russian military vessels access to ports for refuelling and servicing”, the statement concludes, adding that, in accordance with both Acts, the Department reviews compliance with the Acts annually.

The US arms to Cyprus was in place since 1987. In 2020 it was announced that the US would partially lift the embargo, on conditions, with the decision being reviewed annually.

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