reading time: 7 min.

Letymbiotis: Turkish claims of Cyprus’ support for Israel are ‘baseless’

Letymbiotis: Turkish claims of Cyprus’ support for Israel are ‘baseless’

Cyprus government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Tuesday that claims about Cyprus being implicated in operations which support Israel in its Gaza hostilities are “utterly baseless”.

Publish Date: 25/06/24 13:50
reading time: 7 min.
Letymbiotis: Turkish claims of Cyprus’ support for Israel are ‘baseless’
A- A A+

Later Athens also added its response to claims made on Monday by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, that the Greek islands, as well as Cyprus, were being used as springboards for quasi-military support of Israel.

Fidan warned that Cyprus has become an “operation centre” in the Israel-Gaza war.

“Threats against the sovereignty and status of a member state of the European Union are absolutely unacceptable,” Greek diplomatic sources said, relayed by the Cyprus News Agency.

They added that Greece, like all EU member states, stands in solidarity with Cyprus.

“Greece does not accept suggestions on the way it conducts its policy and ensures its national interests. ⁠During the crisis in the Middle East, Greece has maintained a position of principle, which is appreciated by all parties involved and for this reason it keeps all channels of communication open, without having broken with any country,” the same sources said.

Speaking earlier to CyBC, Letymbiotis reiterated that Cyprus never had and never would be the provider of support for military aggressions against any state.

The government spokesman was echoing earlier statements by Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos to the EU, that Cyprus was “not part of the crisis but part of the solution” in the Middle East.

President Nikos Christodoulides as well as the foreign minister had communicated with Lebanon and been assured of that country’s solidarity, Letymbiotis added.

On Monday at the EU foreign affairs council Kombos responded to threats made by Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah against the island last week.

The EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell, meanwhile, reiterated the EU’s support for Cyprus, and noted that a ceasefire in Gaza was a remote outcome at present.

During EU discussions on the Middle East crisis in Luxembourg, Kombos said Cyprus was not involved in supporting military operations in Gaza. The statements were an oblique response to threats made by the Hezbollah chief.

Nazrallah in fiery statements last Wednesday had said Hezbollah would punish Cyprus if it allowed Israel to use its airports and bases to target Lebanon.

“Any inflammatory statements aimed at further escalation and destabilisation in the region are reprehensible,” Kombos told the EU, underscoring that “Cyprus has not been and will not be part of the crisis.”

The minister also said that an expansion of the crisis, especially in Lebanon, should be avoided, and expressed full support for the intensive diplomatic efforts of the USA and France.

The Turkish foreign minister, meanwhile, also on Monday, said Cyprus and the Greek islands had become operational centres used by other states against Gaza.

In an interview with the Turkish channel Hübertürk, Fidan said the risk of an expanded conflict was grave.

“As long as Israel’s genocide continues, this danger will continue, [as] we have emphasised from the start […] at [this] moment when Lebanon comes to the fore, factors in Lebanon threaten the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus. [They are] the forerunners,” he said.

Fidan urged Cyprus, as well as Greece, to “stay away” from being used as hubs for the technical and military aid to Israel.

Fidan claimed that intelligence-gathering and military flights from the island to Gaza were ongoing and could instigate and escalation of the conflict,

The use of the base [understood to be the Akrotiri RAF base] purportedly as a “logistical” centre hides the fact that the operations are in fact military in nature, Fidan further claimed. He warned that expansion of military activity to Cyprus and Greece would lead to Turkey being drawn in.

“The fact that this place and the Greek islands are used for operations in the Middle East, will not benefit either the Greek Cypriot administration, nor Greece. Our advice […] is to stay away from these issues. […] if you become part of them, the fire will come and find you. And we’re in the same geography, so the fire will come and find us too,” Fidan said.

“All regional [actors] must recognise that there is intense militarisation in the area,” he noted.

In more general statements about de-escalating the Middle East crisis, Kombos had earlier emphasised that Cyprus supports the implementation of US President Joe Biden’s proposal, in particular the implementation of UNSC Resolution 2735, calling on all parties to work towards creating conditions that will lead to the start of a peace process.

The EUs high representative, however, in remarks at the end of the EU foreign ministers’ council said that a ceasefire is nowhere in sight and that there was no intention from either side to implement one. It was unclear what to expect from the Netanyahu government, he said.

Borrell reiterated the EU backed active mediation efforts to avoid a confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah, noting that both Lebanon and Cyprus could “count on” the EU’s support.

He also noted the fact that at present no humanitarian aid crosses into the enclaved Gaza Strip at all.

There is political agreement for sanctions against both Hamas and extremist Jewish settlers, Borrell said, while adding that despite peace discussions being held among Arab states, the Netanyahu government and Hamas do not seem willing to implement the Biden proposal.

The next meeting of the EU-Israel association council will not be an ordinary session Borrell pointed out, in response to statements by Israel, saying “we will not discuss Erasmus”.

Borrell said the situation in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as humanitarian issues raised by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk would be the agenda for that meeting.

Furthermore, the meeting’s agenda would be set by the high representative, not the EU Council Presidency, Borrell said, indirectly responding to statements made by Israel to the fact that Hungary, which holds the presidency, is considered a state friendly to that country.

However, in order for the meeting to take place, approval from the EU council is needed, Borrell said.


Source: Cyprus Mail 

To keep up to date with latest Cyprus news


Sending all kinds of financial, legal, criminal, administrative responsibility content arising from illegal, threatening, disturbing, insulting and abusive, humiliating, humiliating, vulgar, obscene, immoral, damaging personal rights or similar content. It belongs to the Member / Members.