Turkey deploys combat drones in Northern Cyprus - Erdogan
Anadolu quotes Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan as saying that he has deployed UAVs including strike drones in Northern Cyprus and does not rule out new supplies to the island to ensure the security of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in all directions.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have been deployed in Northern Cyprus by Turkey, which is not excluding the possibility of deploying new supplies to the self-proclaimed part of the island nation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a European Political Community summit in Prague on Friday.
"Turkey has deployed UAVs including strike drones in Northern Cyprus. I do not rule out new weapons supplies to the island. It is our right. We must completely ensure the security of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in all directions," the Turkish news agency Anadolu quoted Erdogan as saying.
Sending drones to the island was Turkey's first reaction to the US decision to lift the embargo on arms exports to the Greek-majority Cyprus Republic, Erdogan noted.
During the summit, the Greek Cypriot administration communicated with Erdogan with the aim to hold a bilateral meeting, the Turkish leader said, adding that it is not very logical to discuss the issue of Cyprus. At the same time, current president Nicos Anastasiades' term is due to expire in a few months.
Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish army invaded the northern third of its territories in 1974, while the republic joined the European Union in 2004, whose benefits are limited to the southern part of the island where Greek Cypriots live. The southern part of Cyprus is ruled by the only authority recognized by the United Nations. In the north, Ankara only recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The Northern Cypriot government handed on Wednesday the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) an ultimatum about the breakaway state's status: either recognize Northern Cyprus or leave within a month, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported.
Northern Cypriot Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu underlined that if the UNFICYP does not reach an agreement with North Nicosia, the forces will be asked to abandon their stations in the north.
The UN forces play the role of a buffer between self-proclaimed Northern Cyprus and Cyprus, which have highly tense relations due to the secessionist being backed by Turkey, which also has high tensions with Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar met with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean Pierre Lacroix to hand them a draft 'status of forces of agreement' (SOFA), the Northern Cypriot foreign minister said, underlining that the government in the north would take further steps toward the recognition of the breakaway state.
The United Nations will review the draft text, Ertugruloglu revealed.
During a visit to Northern Cyprus last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed his support for a two-state solution.
Erdogan accused the Greek Cypriot authorities of a lack of integrity in finding a solution to the divided Mediterranean island.
The Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, Victoria Nuland, asserted a day later the United States' rejection of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal for two states in Cyprus.
Ankara and Nicosia have been stuck in a diplomatic row for years, with various unresolved issues between the two that date back centuries.
Turkish military drones, as per Turkish media, recently captured images of Greece's illegal deployment of armored vehicles on the Aegean islands with non-military status.
Two Greek landing ships on their way to Sisam and Midili in the Aegean Sea were filmed by Turkish drones, according to the report, and were carrying 18 tactical wheeled armored vehicles to Sisam and 23 to Midili, the agency said, which is against the law since the islands have a non-military status.
Tensions recently continued soaring between Greece and Turkey as Greece received the first 2 upgraded F-16s out of a total of 83 jets to be equipped with advanced electronics, radars, and weapons under a $1.5 billion program to modernize the Greek air fleet by 2027 in cooperation between Hellenic Aerospace Industry and US manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
Erdogan even went as far as accusing Greece of plans to destabilize the region, following a report that on August 23 Greece's S-300 locked on Turkish F-16 jets flying west of Rhodes, at 10,000 feet, according to Turkish Defense Ministry sources.