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Press Release On The S-300 Missiles February 10, 1999

It has been reported in the Greek/Greek Cypriot press that an agreement on the deployment of the S-300 missiles in the island of Crete has recently been signed between the defense Ministers of Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration.

Turkey, from the outset, displayed a determined and principled attitude concerning the missile issue, emphasizing that it will not engage in any bargaining on the matter and maintaining that the S-300 project should be canceled. Turkey has drawn attention to the fact that the deployment of such high technology weaponry in south Cyprus would pose a threat to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and to Turkey and would escalate tensions in the eastern Mediterranean region. The Greek/Greek Cypriot front faced the opposition of the international community as a result of their dangerous initiative.

Just as the decisions to establish and allocate the Paphos military air base to Greece and to construct a naval base in Ziggi for the use of Greek warships, the deployment of the S-300 missiles was an initiative undertaken within the context of the Greek/Greek Cypriot "joint defense doctrine". In view of the offensive nature and the continued implementation of this doctrine, involving heavy militarization by the Greek Cypriot side, the deployment of the S-300's in Crete will clearly constitute a new threat against Turkey.

Such an action will introduce a new element of instability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean and this additional burden on the already troubled Turkish-Greek relations will give rise to additional difficulties thus render the solution of the interrelated Aegean problems even more difficult. The entire responsibility of such an eventuality will belong to Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration.

Moreover, the compatibility of the values and the security of NATO with the deployment of Russian made missiles and radar systems accompanied by Russian military personnel to Crete situated at the center the NATO communications system, must also be questioned.

Turkey will not leave unanswered any threat aimed at its territory and at the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. We will continue to take necessary measures to that end.