by Yannakis L. Omirou
The US decision to lift the embargo on the supply of military equipment to the Republic of Cyprus has a decades-long history and is linked to the embargo imposed on Turkey after its invasion of Cyprus in 1974. But what is the background? The US embargo imposed on Turkey after 1974 came in 1978, following an unjustified decision by President Carter. However, the supply of any military material to the Republic of Cyprus was still prohibited. Here are the facts:
The decision to lift the US embargo on the supply of military hardware is positive for Cyprus. However, the continued supply of military equipment to Turkey is in flagrant violation of US law
Α. The U.S. imposed an embargo on the sale of U.S. arms because of Turkey's illegal invasion of Cyprus in 1974, its continued occupation of 37% of its territory, and its violation of U.S. law. Specifically, Turkey violated F.A.A. Annex 505 and Annexes 3 and 4 of the Foreign Military Assistance Act (F.M.S. Act), now Annexes 3 and 4 of the Arms Export Control Act - AECA, which provide:
- By exhaustive enumeration, the purposes for which U.S. military equipment may be provided.
- That without the consent of the President of the United States, the recipient country of U.S. military material is prohibited from using it for purposes other than those for which it was provided.
- A recipient (U.S. military material) country that uses such material in violation of applicable U.S. law with respect to military assistance or bilateral agreements signed in compliance with the provisions of U.S. law automatically ceases to be eligible for further military assistance.
Β. The 1947 U.S.-Turkey bilateral agreement provides as follows:
- Turkey will use U.S. assistance in compliance with U.S. law (Article 1).
- Without the consent of the U.S. Government, Turkey will not transfer the use of U.S. arms for purposes other than those for which they were provided. (Article IV).
C. Schedule 13(a)(2) of the Export/Import (Eagleton Amendment) of S 3197 (1974) (Bill) states that President Johnson had already warned Turkey in 1964 that the use of U.S. military equipment or services for military action against Cyprus violates the above Article IV of the 1947 U.S.-Turkey Agreement.
D. On September 26, 1978, FAA Annex 620 (X) (the Foreign Assistance Act) was replaced by Annex 620 (c), ending the U.S. arms embargo on Turkey (program s 3075 PL 95-384).
However, to implement (to enact) Schedule 620 (c) under the distinctive title "US Policy Regarding the Eastern Mediterranean" and to repeal Schedule 620 (X) (which dealt with the embargo), the President of the United States should certify to Congress that Turkey is acting in good faith for a just and peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem, for a speedy and peaceful return of refugees to their homes, and for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus. President Carter sent this affirmation and Article 620 (c) came into force.
Annex 620 (c) provides, among other things, the following:
a) Withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus (sub-annex b, paragraph 6).
b) All military equipment supplied by the United States to countries in the Southeast Mediterranean will be used only in compliance with the provisions of the Foreign Assistance and Arms Export Control Acts (FAA and AECA), as well as in compliance with the terms of bilateral agreements (sub-annex B paragraph 3).
c) US military assistance to Greece and Turkey will be used only for defense purposes, including the fulfillment of their obligations to NATO.
d) That to be certain that U.S. military assistance to Greece and Turkey is provided in accordance with the policy stated in section 620(c), the U.S. President, when requested to provide military assistance under the Foreign Military Assistance and Arms Export Control Acts (FAA and AECA), shall send to Congress a certification that the proposed assistance is in compliance with subsection (b) above.
In view of the above, the provisions of Annex (c ) in effect duplicate the provisions of Annexes 505 of the Foreign Assistance Act and 3 of the Arms Export Control Act (FAA and AECA respectively) with respect to the 'eligibility' and permissible 'use' of US military equipment, regardless of the date of its procurement or transfer of its use.
ε) With respect to sub-annex (e) added on 22 December 1987, the following should be noted in the main text of Annex 620 (c):
- Sub-appendix (c) has not repealed the previous sub-appendices (a) and (d) of Annex 620 (c). In addition, the general provisions of Annexes (505) of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) and 3 and 4 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) continue to apply. Rather, it supplements and reinforces them by providing that from now on, agreements for the sale or supply of any type of US military material must explicitly stipulate that military material is provided by the US only on condition that it is not transferred to Cyprus or otherwise used to further the aggravation or division of Cyprus.
In view of the above, i.e. based on express statutory acts of the United States of America in force, the presence of Turkish occupying military forces in the northern part of the independent and sovereign State of Cyprus and their use of American military material is in flagrant violation of American law, regardless of the time of supply or the time of transfer to Cyprus of such military material, before or after 1988.
f) The U.S. military embargo on the supply/sale of military equipment to Turkey was lifted in 1978 through presidential assurances to Congress that Turkey was acting in good faith to withdraw its occupying military forces from Cyprus. A full 44 years have passed since then and Turkish occupation forces remain in Cyprus, despite the fact that U.S.A Public Law 95-384 three times called for their withdrawal as part of U.S. policy on the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey, therefore, continues to flagrantly violate both U.S. and international law. It is therefore inconceivable and outrageous that US support for the illegal Turkish military occupation continues while the embargo on the victim of the illegality, which is the Republic of Cyprus, continues.
In conclusion, the decision to lift the US embargo on the supply of military hardware is positive for Cyprus. However, the continued supply of military equipment to Turkey is in flagrant violation of US law and the assurance given to Congress by US President Carter in 1978.
Mr. Yannakis L. Omirou is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives.