A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed this week between the United States and the Greek Cypriot administration will harm efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue instead of contributing to peace and stability, Turkey's Foreign Ministry said early Monday.
"The MoU signed between the US and the Greek Cypriot administration on Sept. 12, 2020 and envisaging the establishment of a ‘Land, High Seas and Port Security Center' in the Greek Cypriot administration ignores the Turkish Cypriot side," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
The steps taken by the U.S. in lifting an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriots and including the Greek side in its International Military Education and Training (IMET) program disrupt the balance between the two peoples on the island and increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Aksoy said.
In this respect, it is striking that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not meet with TRNC officials during his visit to the island, he added.
"We call on the U.S. to return to its traditional policy of neutrality regarding the island and to contribute to the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue," he underlined.
On Sept. 1, the U.S. partially lifted an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration, located on the south side of the island, while Pompeo announced in July that the U.S. has included the Greek Cypriot administration in its military training program for 2020.
After the forcible division in 1963 of the island of Cyprus by the Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots suffered under a campaign of ethnic violence.
In 1974, following a coup aimed at Cyprus' annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
For many decades, talks were held to resolve the dispute, all of which ended in failure. The latest, held with the participation of the guarantor countries – Turkey, Greece and the U.K. – ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
In 2004, the plan of then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a solution was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in referendums held on both sides of the island.
In a recent report, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that "new ideas" may be needed for settling the issue of the island.