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Aug 12 2018

U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus shows destructiveness of flawed policy - Kahtimerini

The U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus represents the destructiveness of flawed American government policy and the prospect of it being lifted is potentially more important for the United States than it is for Cyprus, according to an analysis published in Greek newspaper Kathimerini. 

The U.S. placed restrictions on the transfer of arms and defensive material to Cyprus in 1987,  in order to encourage reunification efforts and avoid an arms race on the divided island. Cyprus has been split between a Greek Cypriot administration in the south, recognised internationally as the government of the whole island, and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot government in the north recognised by Turkey, following a Turkish invasion of the northern third of Cyprus in 1974.

Even though its legislative history makes clear that it was intended to end Turkey’s illegal military occupation of Cyprus by prohibiting Turkey from employing American arms on Cyprus, the article pointed out , the law was applied as such that Turkey could continue to carry American arms onto Cyprus, but all other U.S. arms to that country were embargoed.

“The United States should lift its outdated arms embargo on Cyprus. There’s no good reason for the United States to deny a tried and true ally like Cyprus essential weaponry for its defense,” the article quoted the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Human Rights Subcommittee as saying.

‘’The Cyprus arms embargo is an example of the kind of undemocratic conduct that is slowly sinking the American democratic ship of state. Today, 70 percent of young Americans and a majority of Americans under 60 do not consider it “essential” to live in a democracy – that’s up from 30 percent in the 1930s. And 35 percent of well-to-do young Americans believe army rule would be a good form of government,’’ the article stated.

Erdogan’s dream of an Ottoman caliphate targets Cyprus’s Muslims, according to the Kathimerini article, and in contrast to Erdogan’s Turks, Turkish Cypriots are steeped in the thousands-of-years-old Western culture of Cyprus that has led to democratic, secular, moderate Muslim beliefs.

A policy of sanctions against Turkey for the detainment of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson seems to have replaced our government’s previous policy of refusing for years to press Turkey about what its military did with five innocent Americans they captured, the article stated, noting ‘’hopefully today’s handling of Cyprus will be a textbook primer of top-notch diplomacy as well as adherence to democratic procedures our founders intended.’’