Washington, USA – In the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s decision to lift the arms embargo from the United States came after a disagreement with the Greek Administration of Greece and Southern Cyprus.
US Secretary of State Pompeo called Southern Cyprus leader Anastasiadis and informed him that the embargo had been lifted. After that meeting, the lifting of the embargo was made public by US officials. “It is also certain that this decision will negatively affect efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue,” Turkey responded to the lifting of the embargo.
As Turkey’s warm days in the Eastern Mediterranean continue, a surprising news came from the United States.
The defence budget bill, known as the” National Defence Authorization Act 2020″, was introduced in late 2019 and the message was that the 33-year arms embargo imposed on Southern Cyprus could be lifted.
However, the embargo coincided with disagreements between Turkey and the Greeks in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Independent of the Eastern Mediterranean Agenda”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally called Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiadis by phone to lift the 33-year-old arms embargo.
After the meeting, US officials announced the news to some Greek journalists.
It stressed that lifting the embargo would only apply to non-lethal weapons.
It also said that the embargo would be lifted for a year for now, but that period could be extended later if desired.
US officials told Greek media that lifting the embargo was independent of the agenda in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In a tweet after the news was made public, Greek leader Anastasiadis said they welcomed the lifting of the embargo.
Reaction from Turkey to the United States
The statement from the State Department included the following statements::
The decision announced by the United States today (1 September) to lift the arms embargo against the Greek Cypriot Administration ignores equality and balance between the two peoples on the island.
It is also certain that this decision will negatively affect efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue.
At a time when efforts are being made to reduce tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, the fact that the United States has signed such a resolution that poisons the peace and stability environment in the region is also incompatible with the spirit of alliance.
We expect the United States to review this decision and support existing efforts to establish peace and stability in the region.
Otherwise, Turkey, as a guarantor country, will resolutely take the necessary corresponding steps to guarantee the security of the Turkish Cypriot people in accordance with its legal and historical responsibility.
History of the Embargo
The United States decided to impose an arms embargo on both Turkey and the then Republic of Cyprus after the Cyprus peace operation launched by Turkey in 1974, following the Greek uprisings in Cyprus that threatened the existence of Turks living on the island.
The arms embargo imposed on Turkey was lifted by US President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
US announces partial lifting of arms embargo on the GCA
The US has decided to end a 33-year arms embargo on the GCA, according to reports Tuesday.
The decision, which concerns non-lethal equipment, was reportedly announced over a call by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the GCA President Nicos Anastasiades.
Speaking during a press briefing with Greek journalists, US officials reportedly said that the lifting of the ban will be effective for a year and could be extended after that.
According to the same reports, the officials said that the decision is not related to recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, nor does it signal a change in US’ foreign policy on the GCA issue.
Turkey reacted to the US Decision
The US Decision to Lift the Arms Embargo on The Greek Cypriot Administration
The U.S. decision announced today (September 1) to lift the arms embargo against the Greek Cypriot Administration ignores the equality and balance between the two peoples on the Island.
It is certain that this decision will also have negative effects on the efforts to reach a settlement to the Cyprus issue.
In a time, where efforts are spent to reduce the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean, the US’s approval of such a decision, which poisons the peace and stability environment in the region, does not comply with the spirit of alliance.
We expect the US to reconsider this decision and support the ongoing efforts to establish peace and stability in the region.
Otherwise, Turkey, as a guarantor country, will take the necessary decisive counter steps to guarantee the security of the Turkish Cypriot people, in line with its legal and historical responsibilities.