It Is Time To Arm Cyprus

Forty-five years ago, the U.S. Congress imposed an arms embargo on Cyprus. “Defense articles of United States origin may not be transferred to or used on Cyprus by Turkey or Greece,” the amendment to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act read. The logic of the arms embargo was two-fold: deny weaponry in order to encourage diplomacy and avoid a regional arms race.

It failed. Not only did the embargo punish Cyprus for Turkey’s invasion more than a decade before, but subsequent diplomacy also went nowhere.

Turkey simply doubled down on its occupation. Today, Turkey uses its military might to occupy portions of Syria and Iraq, threaten Greece, and it pursues ethnic cleansing against Kurds, Yezidis, and Armenians. Egemen Bagis, one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s closest advisors and today his ambassador in Prague, even threatened to use force against Americans. Over the past two years, Turkey has shredded the status quo on the island with unilateral moves toward Varosha. It has even established a drone base at an airstrip in occupied northern Cyprus from which it can threaten much of the Eastern Mediterranean.

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