Turkey Fumes On US Decision To Lift Cyprus Arms Embargo

Turkey condemned a move by the United States to fully lift its weapons embargo on the divided island of Cyprus starting in 2023, warning it could start an arms race.

The foreign ministry said on Saturday the decision would “further strengthen the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigence and negatively affect efforts to resettle the Cyprus issue”.

“It will lead to an arms race on the island, harming peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean,” a ministry statement said, calling on the US to reconsider and pursue a balanced policy towards the two sides.

The Mediterranean island has been divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway state in the north set up after a Turkish invasion launched in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the military government then ruling Greece.

The US imposed the arms embargo on the whole of Cyprus in 1987 in the hope it could encourage its reunification.

Barred access to American weapons, Cyprus turned to Russia to procure Mi-35 attack helicopters, T-80 tanks, and Tor-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems.

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