Cyprus President: Turkey would block accession to NATO
The President of Cyprus is asked by reporters whether there is a chance of a discussion on his country applying for NATO membership.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades was asked on Saturday by reporters whether there is a chance that a discussion on accession to NATO would begin.
According to a statement by the republic's Press and Information Office, Anastasiades said it is still too early to discuss such a thing, as even if the Cypriot government was willing to apply, there would be an objection from Turkey. "A consensus is required for the country to become a NATO member."
The Cypriot president further added that Cyprus is a "small country, we are in need of protection, of course," adding that "the main thing is that the protection must be effective and that any decisions must be approved by the people."
Tensions between Turkey and Cyprus were at their highest in 1974 after Ankara invaded the island and occupied its northern third. In 1983, this part declared independence as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
The Republic of Cyprus, whose gains are limited to the southern part of the island where Greek Cypriots live, joined the European Union in 2004. It is ruled by an authority recognized by the United Nations. In the north, only Ankara recognizes the TRNC.