TRNC might establish a naval base to counter south Cyprus arms deal - Foreign Minister

The Turkish Cypriot side will not remain a bystander to Greece’s and the Greek Cypriot side’s armament campaign, said TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu.

He said that the necessary steps will be taken in response to steps taken by the Greek Cypriot administration.

Ertuğruloğlu said that establishing a naval base might be one of those measures.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle (DW), Turkish Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu said that both the Turkish Cypriot side and Ankara will never accept moves aimed at usurping the rights of Türkiye and Turkish Cypriots.

Asked to comment on the heightening of tensions in the region as well as moves by the US to arm Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, Ertuğruloğlu said that the latest developments came as no surprise.

He expressed the view that the west which was emboldening the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo was responsible for the heightening of tensions in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We have been telling them from the start. There will be no tolerance to any moves that attempt to exclude Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriot people or to usurp their rights. All necessary measures will be taken,” the foreign minister said.

Ertuğruloğlu pointed out that the latest developments showed that the old reality was still valid, that the world and western democracies, founded on the ideals of ancient Greece perceived Turks as ‘barbarians’ which threatened the existence of Europe.

Regarding the Cyprus Issue, Ertuğruoğlu said that the Cyprus Problem was created by the UN Security Council or its five permanent members.

Responding to a question as to what the responsive measures planned by the Turkish side entailed, Ertuğruloğlu said that he believed the construction of a naval base in the TRNC could be a possible option.

“We shall see what kind of steps the other side takes and will respond in kind. It’s not right to advertise such things but one thing is clear, we will not hesitate to take steps of our own. It’s that simple,” he said.

Ertuğruloğlu also argued that military training to be provided to the Greek Cypriot National Guard by US forces was a provocative and threatening move against Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriot side.

He added that the Turkish forces were the only deterring force on the island.

“Our forces serve as a deterrent; it’s the Greek Cypriot forces which are in an aggressive position. It’s up to us to keep them in check,” Ertuğruloğlu added.

Also touching upon the issue of Russia opening an office in the TRNC, Ertuğruloğlu said that the rumours were the result of tabloid journalism.

“Representatives from the Russian embassy contacted our ministry last year to inquire about the procedures for opening such an office in the north. We informed them on what was required. They can open an office here and we have no objections. But this does not mean Russia will be recognizing us. The only reason why they would want to open an office in the TRNC is because there are thousands of Russian nationals residing in the country,” he said.

Ertuğruloğlu added that these Russian nationals were not allowed to cross over to the South as were foreigners entering the country through the TRNC’s ports.

“That’s why this office is necessary to provide consular services to Russian citizens residing in the TRNC,” he said.

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