Greek Cyprus preparing to ‘shed blood’ with armament programme - Tatar
Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar has accused Greek Cypriots on the ethnically divided island of having started an “aggressive armament programme” and preparations to “shed blood” amid Cyprus’ plans to strengthen its military defence.
Ankara-backed Tatar made the remarks in an interview with Turkish Türkiye newspaper on Thursday.
“Greek Cypriots are trying to shed blood, and trying to drag Cyprus back to the chaos before 1974,” Tatar told Türkiye, as he drew an analogy between in the island with that of Russia-invaded Ukraine.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey intervened after a brief Greek Cypriot coup orchestrated by the military junta then ruling Greece. Turkey justified its intervention by citing its rights to protect Turkish Cypriots, but the island has remained divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognised as a state by Turkey.
Western countries are in a race to arm Greek Cyprus, Tatar said, noting that assault and attack weapons totalling 300 million euros had been provided to the south of the island.
“What is being experienced in Ukraine has shown the world how right we are. Previously the Greek Cypriots were being armed for defence purposes. Now that concept has changed,’’ the Turkish Cypriot leader said.
Numerous diplomatic efforts to reunify the Mediterranean island have failed, most notably in April 2004, when Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. reunification plan in a referendum despite Turkish Cypriot support.