International Relations Specialist Dr. Yücel Vural* has evaluated the heated developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and recent steps taken by Turkey and the TRNC government.
Dr. Vural made some striking statements about the process. He said that there is no need for unmanned drones to maintain the security of the Turkish Cypriots, however they could create a threat to the security of North Cyprus.
He said that there are tripartite or quadruple collaborations between Israel, Egypt, the Greek Cypriot side and Greece on the security of natural wealth in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
“We see that the United States is participating in these collaborations. There are also contradictions in the extraction and exploitation of natural resources in our seas around Cyprus. In particular, it is experiencing tension between the Greek Cypriot side and Turkey.
“Recently, another contradiction has been added. It is Turkey’s signing a memorandum of understanding so as to claim that they have sea borders with Libya. This form of adding a new problem to existing problems between Turkey and Greece emerges.
“Regarding the development of the issues related to the introduction of unmanned drones (UAVs), I think that this issue is not related to the security of Turkish Cypriots. Because in our legislature, Parliament, this issue was never discussed. The government did not open up the debate on the security problems faced by the Turkish Cypriot community by presenting the data and information it had obtained to Parliament.
“This issue, that is, the use of an airport [Geçitkale] for military use, suddenly came up. President Akıncı stressed the dangers posed by tensions in this region several times. But I do not recall that he has in any way explained that the security of Turkish Cypriots is at stake and therefore military support must be sought from another country.
“I don’t think it’s just the arrival of the UAVs. There are certain consequences. Turkish Cyprus is opening a very serious new front. Such a step will be followed by other steps taken by Turkey, so opening a new front against the west.
“We see again that the incident has nothing to do with the Turkish Cypriots. But this step, which is taken without any justifiable concerns for the Turkish Cypriots, makes the northern part of Cyprus a military target. We will also see who will be the target in this process. It is also unclear what is intended in the military sense of using this field.
“This could also be a step towards destroying the positive atmosphere created by the Berlin process [where the two Cypriot community leaders met with UNSG Guterres in November. Ed]. This is a step that will completely destroy the negotiations process, at least in the medium or long term. In other words, the Berlin talks, which envisions that negotiations will be resumed on some creative grounds and concluded in the near future, will be completely delayed and rendered meaningless.”
*Dr. Yücel Vural is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Eastern Mediterranean University. He is also one of the founding members of Cyprus Academic Dialogue.