Turkey condemns US-Cyprus defence deal

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry denounced a defence training deal between the US and Cyprus as “encouraging Greek Cypriot side’s armament.”

“We condemn the signing of an agreement between the National Guard of the State of New Jersey and the Ministry of Defence of the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA)…under the scope of the US Department of Defence, following the GCA’s inclusion in this program last October,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The US disrupted the balance on the island of Cyprus to the detriment of the Turkish Cypriots in 2022 by lifting the arms embargo on the GCA.

“These last steps are also encouraging the Greek Cypriot side’s armament.

“We call on the US to reconsider this policy, which in no way serves the stability of the region, and to contribute to a just, lasting and sustainable settlement of the Cyprus issue,” Ankara said.

The ministry stressed that Turkey, “as a motherland and guarantor, will never allow any harm to come to the Turkish Cypriots,” adding that Ankara will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the Turkish Cypriot people.

Cyprus and US relations have never been stronger, Defence Minister Michalis Giorgallas said at last week’s signing ceremony of a State Partnership Program (SPP) between the Republic and the New Jersey National Guard.

“Some of the recent highlights and milestone achievements are accessing the international educational program of Cypriot officers…and of course the lifting of the US arms embargo of lethal and non-lethal materials”.

The signing took place at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, and the Chief of the Cypriot National Guard signed the SPP, Lt. Gen. Demokritos Zervakis and the Adjutant General of New Jersey National Guard, Brigadier Lisa J. Hou.

Cyprus is just the second SPP Partner of the New Jersey National Guard.

US Ambassador Julie D. Fisher said it is one of the US’s most effective security cooperation programs that work in Europe today.

Cyprus and Norway are among the newest relationships included in this program.