On the lifting of the American embargo on the sale of arms to the Republic of Cyprus and on Turkey's recent provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, among other things, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense informed the members of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign and European Affairs of the Cypriot Parliament on Tuesday.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulidis, stated that the Ministry is establishing a department that will deal exclusively with Turkey.
Kasoulidis also stated that Turkey, with Russia's attack on Ukraine, has "managed to greatly upgrade its influence and power in the world because it has managed to play the role of a mediator".
Turkey succeeded, he continued, in the grain affair, which is by no means inconsiderable, and in a prisoner exchange agreement. At the same time, he noted that over the years, Turkey has managed to utilise its size and capabilities to pursue an intense foreign policy, which aims to improve its relations with countries in the Middle East and the European Union, but not with Greece and Cyprus.
The minister said that in every European Council he denounces Turkey, which does not respect the sanctions against Russia. He specifically referred to Russian aircraft flying to Turkey and then to all European countries. He also added that 790 Russian companies are active in Turkey and that Russian gold is traded through Turkey.
Unfortunately, he said, in the EU "we have never had a common foreign policy, as far as Turkey is concerned, because of complicated interests" explaining that in this matter "Germany's foreign policy on Turkey is different, France's is different, Austria's is different and so on henceforth".
The minister added that during this period, Turkey has thrown all its weight to promote the upgrading of the pseudo-state of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", ie. the Turkish zone of occupation in Cyprus.
"They won't get the recognition", underlined Kasoulidis, "but this is their goal." He also mentioned that the President of Turkey is throwing his personal weight in this direction, and has "enticed some EU countries, possibly two, to open offices of the pseudo-state, which will operate on the basis of private law".
"This is being done at a time which coincides with the effort of Turkey and the Tatar regime to upgrade to the same diplomatic status and separate sovereignty," he said. Kasoulidis stressed that "our partners must realise this" and that this is not the policy of the United Nations and is not consistent with the resolutions.
Regarding the possibility of Turkey's invasion of Greek islands, the Minister of Foreign Affairs cited a high-ranking military officer in Greece, who told him that "there is no mobility for such a possibility". However, he added, the possibility of an accident with chain effects is not ruled out.
"We should act proactively," he said, "as in the case of the complaint about the opening of the Agios Memnon area in Varosi, so that there is a reaction."
Regarding the lifting of the embargo of the United States on the sale of arms to Cyprus, he stated that "the Americans do not have much confidence in Cyprus and for this reason they set a condition that the lifting of the embargo be approved annually".
He underlined that the US set two conditions for the lifting of the embargo - the fight against money laundering, which was achieved, and the ban on the docking of Russian ships, which in the past was impossible to do, while today with Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been implemented.
For his part, the Minister of Defence, Charalambos Petridis, told the Commission that the National Guard "is at the highest level of equipment in the last 20 years".
He also noted that there is interoperability in the Ministry, cooperation with other member states and good cooperation with Greece. From September, he added, the American embargo was completely lifted, since all the conditions were met. There is a new cooperation framework, he noted, we are getting more options, but there is no plan now for equipment from the United States.
Petridis said that due to the sanctions against Russia, "we will face special problems for the Russian weapon systems and third countries are being sought for the supply of spare parts for the maintenance of the weapon systems".
He added that, in terms of maintenance, there are contracts with Russia and ways to implement them are being sought.
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