Ankara accused of stoking tensions

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Nicosia accused Turkey of distorting reality to create tensions after Ankara said Cyprus was disturbing the region’s stability with its recent war games with Israel.

“We are disappointed to observe the escalation of Turkish rhetoric aiming at distorting reality and creating tensions in our region, following the Agapinor-2022 exercise,” said a Cyprus Foreign Ministry statement.

Cyprus said it would continue to exercise its sovereign rights and implement international obligations, strengthening cooperation with states in the region, including security and defence.

“The purpose of such exercises, based on fictitious scenarios, is exclusively the strengthening of the defence capabilities of the National Guard, enhancing bilateral and regional cooperation and the creation of conditions of security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Unfortunately, it is once again confirmed that the only country that consistently destabilises the region is Turkey”.

The response came after the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the Agapinor-2022 large-scale military exercise “came at the cost of disturbing regional stability, is more proof of the cynicality of the Greek Cypriot administration”.

It called on countries which take part in military exercises with Cyprus “not to become means of provocations and propaganda”.

Ankara said it would continue to look out for the rights and interests of Turkish Cypriots.

It accused Nicosia of not being interested in building trust between the two communities on the island and continuing to engage in rhetoric to deceive the public.

Turkey claimed the Republic’s actions are eroding trust between the two communities with its military activities openly displayed, arguing that the Greek Cypriots have significantly increased military activities.

The Agapinor-2022 exercise involving the National Guard and Israel’s armed forces was launched on 29 May and completed on 2 June.

The exercise was part of a wider IDF exercise in Israel, spanning over four weeks.

The Israel Defence Forces said it was “the biggest ever in cooperation with a neighbouring country”.

Turkey is preparing to engage in a joint search and rescue exercise with the breakaway state in the occupied north from 13 to 17 June.