Statement by the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mr. Rauf Denktaş (10 January 1997)

"We have been drawing the attention of the world for years to the Greek Cypriot armament programme and warning everybody of the dangerous consequences which could result from the implementation of such a program. We have been making these warnings as a people who are well acquainted with the Greek Cypriot habit of resorting to violence and arms, with the help and provocation of Greece, since 1955. We are a people who have been the target of Greek Cypriot and Greek attacks and who have suffered, particularly, from 1963 to 1974.

Unfortunately, our warnings were not heeded. The Greek Cypriot administration and Greece heavily armed the southern part of the island and deployed heavy offensive weapons. Together with Greece, the Greek Cypriot side put into effect a joint military doctrine. They started the construction of air and naval bases for the use of the Greek armed forces. Most recently, despite our warnings and that of other countries and the UN, they went ahead and signed the contract for the acquisition of a S-300 missile system from the Russian Federation.

As reflected in the strong international reaction, the Greek Cypriot decision to purchase Russian missiles went beyond what is tolerable.

By taking this action, the Greek Cypriot side has clearly demonstrated that they do not seek accommodation but rather confrontation with the Turkish Cypriot people.

We had accepted, with great sacrifices, the Confidence Building Measures Package which emerged through the good offices mission of the UN Secretary-General. Although nearly three years have passed since our acceptance of this package in 1994, the Greek Cypriot side has rejected the implementation of the measures and, on the contrary, went ahead with acts that have seriously deepened the crisis of confidence between the two peoples. No doubt, these acts have also jeopardized efforts to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus question.

The UN Confidence Building Measures Package, as a result of the negative Greek Cypriot stance and their latest decision to acquire offensive missiles, has lost its meaning and, because of the refusal of the Greek Cypriot side to implement this package and its ill intent, has ceased to be applicable. In view of these developments, we are suspending our support to the Confidence Building Measures Package which we had previously given with goodwill.

As is known, measures concerning Varosha constituted one of the essential elements of the UN Package and involved a major sacrifice on our part. In the current stage, reached because of the negative stance of the Greek Cypriot side, the keeping of Varosha as part of that package has lost its meaning and logic.

I declare to our people and to the world that if the Greek Cypriot side acquires S-300 missile systems from Russia, despite all the serious warnings, we will take the necessary steps to socially and economically link Varosha into Gazimagosa. So long as the decision to acquire S-300 missiles remain and the Greek Cypriot side continues with its policy resulting in the deepening of the crisis of confidence on the island, we will take all appropriate measures necessary."