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Cyprus President denounces Turkish army leader's "security" threats
2006-01-03 14:10:12

Nicosia, Jan 3 -- Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has denounced statements on Cyprus by the Turkish Chief of General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok, saying they were not acceptable.

In his new-year message, General Ozkok said that defending Ankara's rights and interests in Cyprus, which he described as the cornerstone of Turkey's security in the Eastern Mediterranean, was one of the basic pillars of Ankara's security strategy.

''These are old views which we do not accept. We reject such notions,'' President Papadopoulos has said.

General Ozkok also said in his message which referred to Turkey's security strategy in general: "It is possible for the Turkish Armed Forces to be able to respond to these requirements by having the capability to be able to conduct a conventional war and a war of asymmetrical character at the same time."

"In particular," he added, "I consider it a basic condition for success that all three forces possess the structure and the understanding of being able to conduct joint operations. On the other hand, in light of the important experience that the Turkish Armed Forces have gained in the past, I want to underscore that having the ability to conduct internal security operations as well with the same effectiveness is of great importance from the standpoint of the country's territorial integrity."

Moreover, the Turkish General pledged to continue efforts to form forces "that have high survivability, are superior in terms of technology, information, and training, have adopted a culture of commonality, are able to move rapidly, are modular and elastic, and are able to operative continuously in every sort of environment. It is our greatest wish that, with this process of change, we will be able to make the Turkish Armed Forces the best trained and best equipped force in the region."

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