Turkey will strengthen its military presence in occupied Cyprus following the US decision to fully lift the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with CNN Türk on Wednesday evening.
The Turkish President called the US government's decision "inexplicable", both in terms of "its content" and "timing".
"I believe that our efforts for the recognition of the TRNC will be successful," -Erdogan on CNN Turk
"The United States - which overlooks, even encourages, the steps of the Cyprus-Greece duo, which threatens peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean - will lead to an arms race on the island with this action," Erdogan said.
"Are we going to sit on our hands? We cannot," he said, adding that Turkey already has 40,000 troops on the island and will strengthen its military presence there. "Everyone should know that this last step will not go unanswered and that every precaution will be taken for the security of Turkish Cypriots," the Turkish President added.
Optimistic about recognition of pseudo-state
"I believe that our efforts for the recognition of the TRNC will be successful," Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said, adding that they will do whatever it takes to ensure the security of the TCs. Referring to Greece, Tayyip Erdogan said it is imperative to demilitarize the islands. In the US, he said it is unacceptable to send vehicles loaded with weapons to Samos and Mytilene.
In a joint interview with CNN Turk and Kanal D, the Turkish President said "it is unacceptable for the US to send such vehicles loaded with weapons as well as equipment to Samos and Mytilene. All this was found with the drones. US armored vehicles are used to threaten us."
He went on to say that the US is being told that they will not find an ally like Turkey and said that they had warned America and Greece through their Foreign Ministry. He noted that they sent the last letter to the UN on September 17.
The Turkish President said that "it is imperative to demilitarize the islands. According to Lausanne, these islands are subject to a special status. Our expectation from the US is that they should not lead Greece into miscalculations and manipulate international opinion. The statement we issued includes these issues."
Regarding the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus, the Turkish President said "the US ignoring and even encouraging the steps of the Greek Cypriot-Greek pairing, which threaten peace and stability, will lead to an arms race. Are we going to stop? We are taking these steps, we will. We have about 40 thousand soldiers there (in Cyprus). Apart from that, we are taking steps on these issues with our weapons, tools and equipment. Everybody should know that this last step will not go unanswered and whatever is necessary will be done for the security of the TC people."
Biden and F16
On the purchase of F16s from the US, Tayyip Erdogan said that "Biden told us that his view is to give us F-16s and all other components. By the way, the same positive response was given to my Defense Minister in his meetings with his US counterpart. On this trip, I had separate conversations with Republican Lindsey Graham and other senators. They gave me positive responses." According to Erdogan, he was told that "we cannot leave our most important NATO ally alone, we will do our best."
As he said, they also told him that "the hostile attitude towards Turkey is not correct, we have to solve this problem" and added that Turkey is currently waiting to see what will result from the promises Biden made to them.
Recognition of a pseudo-state
Asked about Turkey's efforts to get recognition for the pseudo-state, Tayyip Erdogan said that "these recognitions are not something that happens in a moment. Many big and small countries in the world have been recognized, but how soon were they recognized? It took a long time. We are saying that the sovereign status of the 1959-1960 rights of the TC people must be established. The priority for ensuring this equality belongs to the UN Security Council. If the Security Council acts fairly, we will accelerate this process. Because I believe that we will get a positive response from the UN as well."
Continuing his references to the issue, he said of the UN that "they have not taken any step to determine the sovereign equality of the TC people. If the Security Council cannot do that, the UN members can establish their rights by recognizing Cyprus. That is why I have appealed to the international community. This was preliminary. Of course, we explained the issue in detail to our interlocutors we met in New York. I believe that our efforts will bear fruit."