Cyprus protests upgrade of Turkish occupation forces
New York, June 22
Nicosia has protested to the UN over Turkey’s new attempt to reinforce its military presence in the occupied part of Cyprus by both increasing the number of Turkish troops and upgrading their military equipment.
In a letter to the UN Secretary-General, dated 14 June, Cyprus’ Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis said such moves would hamper any new initiative for a political settlement and raised serious doubts about Ankara’s real intentions.
“Turkey’s policy of reinforcing its occupation army in the northern part of Cyprus, “one of the most densely militarized areas in the world” (S/1995/1020), constitutes a serious breach of international law but also a serious threat to national and regional peace and stability. Furthermore, such activities bespeak a tendency to escalate tension and create a climate of instability, fear and mistrust on Cyprus” it was also noted in the letter.
Mr Mavroyiannis said there was evidence that between January and May of this year, “under the pretext of rotation, 5,850 troops of the Turkish armed forces arrived and were deployed in the occupied area, while only 570 troops returned to Turkey during the same period”.
On the contrary, he continued, “the Government of Cyprus is considerably decreasing its defence budget, consistently implementing the project of demining National Guard minefields, and during the last year submitted a series of military peace-building measures to reduce tension”.
In concluding, he pointed out that Turkey’s aspiration to accede to the European Union and to play a decisive role in the region should lead Ankara to reconsider its policy on Cyprus, adopt a forward-looking approach and contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus issue.