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Turkey condemns US further easing of Cyprus arms embargo

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday “strongly” condemned the U.S.’s announcement that it will widen the scope of its 2020 decision to lift its arms embargo on Cyprus.

The move is “in contradiction to the principle of equality of the two sides on the island,” the ministry said in a statement. The development 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,” the ministry added.

It called on the U.S. to reconsider the decision and “pursue a balanced policy towards the two sides on the island.”

The northern third of the island has been occupied by Turkey since 1974. The U.S. imposed the arms embargo in 1987 to encourage the island’s reunification, and partially lifted it in September 2020.

The U.S. State Department on Friday said Cyprus had “met the necessary conditions under relevant legislation to allow the approval of exports, re-exports, and transfers of defense articles to the Republic of Cyprus for fiscal year 2023.”

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Twitter welcomed the U.S. announcement as a “landmark decision, reflecting the burgeoning strategic relationship between the two countries, including in the area of security.”

The Turkish ministry said it will “continue to take necessary steps for the existence, security and serenity of the Turkish Cypriots, by all means.”



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