Statement by the Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Dr.Tansu Çiller (10 January1997)

"The attempts of the Greek Cypriot administration to turn Cyprus into a powder keg and a focal point of conflict by purchasing Russian missiles and other offensive weaponry, has created a situation of concern which rendered meaningless long time efforts to achieve a peaceful solution in Cyprus based on reconciliation. It is unthinkable for Turkey to remain a spectator to this aggressive posture of the Greek Cypriot side.

It appears that, as in the past, the Greek Cypriot administration considers it in its own interest to pursue a policy of aggression and tension, rather than reconciliation. This is a grave error. Similar policies pursued by the Greek Cypriots in the past have brought nothing but tears and suffering to the Greek Cypriot people and have taken a heavy toll on them. Turkey should not be expected to tolerate the Greek Cypriot administration to become a source of threat to the Turkish Cypriots or Turkey. There is no doubt that the greatest responsibility in encouraging, aiding and abetting the Greek Cypriots in this direction belongs to Greece. The pursuit, by Greece, which is a NATO member, of a hostile policy towards Turkey by manipulating the Greek Cypriots, and its endeavour to threaten Turkey's southern region through the Greek Cypriot sector, are the product of an extremely dangerous and irresponsible policy.

With the policy it has been pursuing against Turkey for years, which is eroding the strength and effectiveness of NATO's southeastern flank, Greece continues to be a destabilizing factor in the region.

Turkey cannot become a spectator to Greece to encircle her also from the south and to alter the balance between the two countries or to turn Cyprus into a festering wound in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, who have turned a deaf ear to the warnings of friends and allies, bears all the responsibility of the current dangerous situation.

It is impossible not to realize that the excessive rearmament efforts of the Greek Cypriot side are part of a scheme designed to prevent Turkey from effectively exercising her right of guarantee arising from international treaties. We will not be succumb to such designs. Turkey will follow with restraint the developments and will take necessary measures timely and with determination.

President Denktaş has made an important statement in this respect. Turkey strongly supports the views put forward in that statement.

The security of life and property of the Turkish Cypriot people is under the guarantee of Turkey. Every attempt aimed at destroying the peace and tranquility enjoyed by the Turkish Cypriot people will be confronted by Turkey.

One more time, Turkey deems it necessary to strongly warn Greece and the Greek Cypriots in this respect."