Washington: The United States has decided to lift the arms embargo that was imposed in 1987 on Cyprus, considered one of the important countries in the Mediterranean. The US decision came as a significant blow to Turkey, where the country expressed strong resentment and warned the US that the decision would prove to be a dangerous escalation.
The United States had imposed an arms embargo on Cyprus in 1987, to stop the conflict between the citizens of Greek and Turkish origin as also to curb an arms race. However, the US Congress decided to lift the embargo on Cyprus on Tuesday with 86 votes against 8. The US Congressmen claimed that the move would help strengthen cooperation between Greece, Israel and Cyprus.
Cyprus is a member nation of the European Union (EU) and is geographically located close to Greece and Turkey. The tensions between the two states have risen in the last few years, and military analysts had warned only a week ago that conflict might soon spark between them. The analysts believe the agreement between Turkey and Libya regarding the maritime limits in the Mediterranean Sea and the dispute over Cyprus may attribute to the war. Also, the United States had openly sided with Greece and criticised the agreement Turkey had inked with the Libyan government.
At the same time, Turkey has adopted a stance against the United States. The country snubbed opposition from NATO and the United States in matters of S-400 air defence system purchase from Russia and the military action against the Syrian Kurds.
Cyprus has been divided into two parts, and North Cyprus is currently under Turkey’s control. Furthermore, Turkey has claimed that the entire state of Cyprus was under its control and increased military movements for the purpose. Under the scenario, the United States move of lifting the sanctions would resume the arms supply to Cyprus, posing a challenge before Turkey. It could add a considerable amount of strain over Turkey shortly.
Currently, Turkey is attacking the locations of the Syrian Kurds. Since the relations between Turkey and Greece are strained, a war may be possibly sparked between the two countries at any time. Given the conditions, Greece has instigated Turkey by making an offer to the United States for a military base.
All the developments indicate towards the United States cornering Turkey, which may trigger retaliation from Turkey soon.