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Why 40,000 Turkish Soldiers in Cyprus???

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Why 40,000 Turkish Soldiers in Cyprus???

Postby BirKibrisli » Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:57 am

I have often wondered this.Given that Turkey is only 5 minutes away by fighter jets,and say 4 hours away by landing seacraft? Why do we need 40,000 soldiers stationed in Cyprus?If the aim is to protect the 80,000 TCs left on the North,would it take so many soldiers (one for every two TCs) to achieve that?
Also,if Turkey withdrew all but,say,5000 of its troops from Cyprus tomorrow,would the Greek National Guard stage a full scale attack on the TRNC the day after?
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Re: Why 40,000 Turkish Soldiers in Cyprus???

Postby Kifeas » Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:23 am

Birkibrisli wrote:I have often wondered this.Given that Turkey is only 5 minutes away by fighter jets,and say 4 hours away by landing seacraft? Why do we need 40,000 soldiers stationed in Cyprus?If the aim is to protect the 80,000 TCs left on the North,would it take so many soldiers (one for every two TCs) to achieve that?
Also,if Turkey withdrew all but,say,5000 of its troops from Cyprus tomorrow,would the Greek National Guard stage a full scale attack on the TRNC the day after?


Hello Birkibrisli,
It has for the last 31 years, and it continues to be, completely outside the GC side’s thoughts, desires and plans to secure any form of settlement in Cyprus with the use of Arms. The purpose, maintenance and formation of the National Guard is a defensive one, namely to confront any further expansion of the Turkish Army and until international diplomatic and other action is taken in order to halt or contain it. The maintenance of such a disproportionately larger to our population size army, is something that we view with a lot of resentment as it deprives us of some very precious financial means that would alone have been enough to turn Cyprus into a paradise and a model country in Middle East and Europe, in a matter of just one decade.

The GC side had proposed for a complete demilitarization of the island, even before a solution is being agreed, and for the already existing UN forces in Cyprus to play the role of obstructing any possible civilian conflicts between the two communities, should a finalized comprehensive settlement is not yet possible. This demilitarization proposal envisions the simultaneous gradual and proportional dismantling of both the GC National Guard and all the TC and mainland Turkish occupation forces in the north. This proposal is also in line with the UN SC resolutions on Cyprus and it should be the product of an agreement of all parties, an agreement that should also be guaranteed by the UN under chapter 7 of the UN charter.

Such a proposal alleviates in my opinion your above fears that should the Turkish Army withdraws from Cyprus, the GC NG will attack the north and subdue the TCs.

However, this proposal, although it has been put forward hundreds of times by the GCs in the past, it has been rejected adamantly by Turkey. If you want to know why it has been rejected by Turkey you can read the Hürriyet of last Saturday, in which the National Security Council of Turkey reaffirmed once more that Turkey will never forgo of its “rights” in Cyprus, as they are crucial to the “security” of Turkey (not to the TCs.) Which rights and which security threats they are talking about, I honestly do not have a clue. Do you?
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Postby BirKibrisli » Tue Nov 08, 2005 1:40 pm

Hello,Kifeas,
No,it doesn't make much sense to me either.How can Cyprus (Republic of) be a threat to Turkey.?The rights they are talking about are those given to Turkey under the Guarantee Act of 1960,I suppose.
But nobody is asking them to give that up at this stage,anyway.
I think there are a few things at work here.First,the national Security Council is trying to remind Erdogan that he must walk carefully when it comes to a solution in Cyprus.It is common knowledge that the AKP government and the national Security council (ie the Generals) do not see eye to eye in a lot of issues.They are both engaged in one-upmanship.
The real motive in keeping so many soldiers is probably more underhanded.Apart from being a show of force the Army also serves to keep the TCs in line,plus they provide the right atmosphere for the settlers to keep coming to the North. Why else would Turkey spend so much of their budget to maintain such big numbers of soldiers.The TCs could be easily protected from Turkey if neccessary.
I did not know that RoC had proposed dimilitarisation of Cyprus.Can you tell me under which GC politician that happened? It sounds like a brave move to me.
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Postby Khan » Tue Nov 08, 2005 5:41 pm

Well i think now that GC joined the EU it will make withdrawal even more difficult until Turkey joins also. If Turkey left TRNC unprotected then it could be overwhelmed by GC and then placed under protection of EU from which it could probably never be retrieved. As a sign of good will they could reduce the number to 20,000, but how many signs of goodwill are we meant to show now?
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Postby BirKibrisli » Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:32 am

But Khan,what I am trying to understand is why so many soldiers on the island?If the aim is to protect the TCs Turkey can do that from Turkey.
All she needs to do is form a special Cyprus Contingent and base it near Mersin somewhere and Bob's your Uncle (so to speak).There must be another reason why such a show of force.That is what I am trying to understand.
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Postby bg_turk » Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:43 am

Birkibrisli wrote:But Khan,what I am trying to understand is why so many soldiers on the island?If the aim is to protect the TCs Turkey can do that from Turkey.
All she needs to do is form a special Cyprus Contingent and base it near Mersin somewhere and Bob's your Uncle (so to speak).There must be another reason why such a show of force.That is what I am trying to understand.


Birkibrisli,

it is simple game thoery really, Turkish Forces are there simply as a deterant.
I do not think the turkish troops will attack the South first. They are there to dissuade GCs from attacking first.

With Greek cypriots in the EU, I simply do not believe Turkey would ever dare attack an EU member. This would be against turkey's national interests, overall strategy of EU membership and reconciliation policy towards Greece. Such an attack would be completely unjustifiable and would turn world opinion against Turkey to its own detriment.

On the other hand a withdrawal of turkish troops would create a political vacuum in the north, and I do not doubt that GCs will quickly take advantage of it by reclaiming the territory as their own. IMO, Turkish troops should not withdraw before a solution is reached, and I belive that their presence is required by the security concerns of TCs.

A "goodwill" gesture of removing a fraction of the Turkish troops would be meaningless. How would it help GCs in the first place? Do you think they would thank Turkey for withdrawing 5000 troops out of 30000. No, they will keep the same rhetoric, until all troops are gone.
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Postby BirKibrisli » Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:38 am

Merhaba bg-turk,

So you believe in the domino theory.If Turkey pulled out 5000 troops,RoC would demand more withdrawals.I have no doubt you are right.But couldn't there be a symbolic presence,say,of 5000 troops.Wouldn't that be enough deterant?I am just desperate to see some move away from the present stalemate.Where no one is prepared to give an inch. I think Turkey should make such move because Turkey is the stronger side militarily,and that would go a long way to signal that Turkey is not there for expansionist reasons,but to safeguard the TC interests.Assuming that is why they are there.
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Postby bg_turk » Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:15 am

Symbolic presence wouldnt be a deterran Birkibrisli, by definition. Symbolic presence is just symbolic, it serve no purpose but to give a false sense of security.

In order for the deterrant to be effective you need to make sure that it is clear GCs losses will be much greater than any potential gain from attacking the north. The deterrant will no longer be credible if you do not show a clear comitmant that you will defend the TCs in case of an attack, and a symbolic presence simpy erodes the credibility of such a commitment.
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Postby Sotos » Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:50 am

The GC side had proposed for a complete demilitarization of the island, even before a solution is being agreed

Kifeas, do you think this would be a good idea? As Birkibrisli said Turkey is only 5 minutes away. They can bring back that army really fast. How are we then going to defend ourselves if we have no army?
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Postby Svetlana » Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:35 am

The chances of the RoC 'attacking' the North are simply ZERO ZERO ZERO! however, many/few Turkish military are based there.

The RoC politicians are not very smart - but they do know the 'moral high ground'/Turkey EU entry is the only viable way to establishing a solution, satisfactory to the South.

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