Cyprus security

.Cyprus is a EU member, but not a NATO member - and its Northern part is de facto occupied by Turkey.

The International Law position on the whole occupation is rather clear-cut; Turkey is about as much an illegal occupier of Cyprus as Israel in the West Bank and Iraq in Kuwait 1990/91.

List of United Nations Security Council resolutions concerning Cyprus

Meanwhile, there's the people's right to self-determination, and a case can be made that the Turkish-speaking Northern Cypriots have a right to secede. This gets complicated by the history of ethnic cleansing, which is always illegitimate.

Its non-occupied population is speaking Greek, and despite cultural differences with Greece there is a possibility that Cyprus could be drawn into a stupid Greek-Turkey hot conflict. An invasion of the unoccupied part of Cyprus by Turkey should draw the EU into war with Turkey.

Lisbon (EU) Treaty:

7. If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation.

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The UN peacekeeping mission on Cyprus gets extended every six months, but it only has about 1,000 personnel and they're more eyes than guns. They are relevant for deterrence, but also irrelevant for defence.

The British forces on the island are a bit more substantial and their bases occupy an irritatingly large share of the country, but they do only contribute two infantry battalions to the defence, which pales in comparison to the ten thousands of Turkish troops on the island.

The Greek forces in Cyprus are just the same; about 1,000 personnel strong, more a deterrence mission than a defence capability.

Cyprus lacks the economic and personnel potential to defend itself in case of a Turkish aggression. 

Defence budget about 355 million USD in 2020 

Military personnel according to "IISS Military Balance 2020": 15,000 active, 50,000 reserves, 750 paramilitary

Cyprus' military would likely be able to defend against the Turkish troops already on the island, but incapable of defending against a major reinforced attack by Turkey.

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The populations of the EU countries hardly know about Article 42 and some of those who know about it dispute that it is of any consequence. This goes beyond just people from formerly neutral countries (Sweden, Austria). There is thus no motivation to reinforce Cyprus' defence with ten thousands of deployed foreign troops (not really a nice thing to have for Cyprus anyway) nor to subsidise it into a militarised Israel-like state that could defend itself. Both  could provoke a preventive invasion by Turkey anyway.

The geography gives Turkey all the air power advantages, so any help to Cyprus against Turkey would 

  • require excessive resources (carrier fleets),
  • be indecisive or
  • have to include strikes on Turkey itself (air power on the ground, warships in ports).

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So far the approach was to have multiple "tripwires", to not dispute the Turkish occupation by force and to generally let the problem linger on for want of a promising solution strategy.

My personal stance on such cold conflicts is simple. Illegal occupations shall not be tolerated for the sake of peace and protection of sovereign countries. Every single country that illegally occupies another country or part thereof should be subjected to decisive, strangling economic sanctions that escalate to the point at which the country cannot import anything but medical supplies and food any more, and cannot export anything but what's needed to pay for these imports. This includes a total shutdown of communication. UN missions should help with the enforcement. Any country found to violate these sanctions should be subjected to the same set of escalating sanctions as long as it's not believed to comply.

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The title was and is "Cyprus security", but the security woes of Cyprus looks very much unsolvable by non-excessive military efforts. Countries like Cyprus would best be served by decisively enforced International Law, not by more guns.

The West / NATO has a history of looking the other way when some of its own commit offences or turn into dictatorships (such as the Greek junta 1967-1974, which exposed NATO as not being about freedom at all). It's thus a problem for -rather than an impartial champion of- the rule of International Law. This endangers and harms the sovereignty of many small countries, and Cyprus - a EU member(!!!) is one of those who suffer the most.

The practicality problem to my approach: UNSC veto powers, the birth defect of the United Nations





  1. Turkey receives substantial sums from the EU which would be void in case of conflict. This scenario could happen when Turkey is out of the current crisis and doesn't need EU money to keep afloat. Cyprus and Greece have a defence agreement, making it possible that they will support each other in a conflict with Turkey.

    Israel has good ties with Cyprus and interests to curb Turkey's current oil and gas ambitions. Would it help to include Israel in a EU defence of Cyprus? Israel already participates in European sports and culture, because they aren't liked in the region. It could have an EU association treaty with some mutual defense help in return for improvements in the West Bank.

    Geographically, a treaty with Lebanon might help as well, but politically this might be more difficult than an agreement with Israel.

    Russia has interests in Cyprus and a base in Syria. I think it possible that they would object to such a Turkish move. Armenia is currently in trouble after they steered an anti-Russian course. So I do think Turkey does mind Russian opinions.

  2. Erdogan aint going to be there forever. Its an easy point of pressue for turkish nationalists to press, "We are the tail that wags the European dog, kek."

    Beyond that? Submarines are scary. Airlift is expensive.

    I cant see turkey doing it. But I was wrong about brexit and trump so what the hell do I know?

  3. The turks could not support an war on cyprus without controlling the seaway to the island and a strong eu fleet presence in the region (in cyprus and greece) could deteer an turkish agression on the island imo very effectivly. The turkish airforce could not hold open the seaway if the eu would deploy their marine forces (including carriers) to greece. Therefore it would loose such an war on cyprus.

    It all then hangs at the point that the eu states are not credible at the moment to realy fight any war against turkey. That is the main point here imo: not only myself but also the turks and many other countries do not believe in the possibility of an true military reaction of the eu and that the core eu countries would fight an real war for such an issue.

    The deterrence of the eu is zero because it is not believable / is not believed by others. The core eu states - especially germany are regarded by the turks and others as ridicolous weak countries (regardless if this is true or not).

    Moreover germany in such an scenario would have the problem of millions of turks in germany which are in their majority more loyal to turkey than to germany and this even if they have an german passport and citicenship. The turks in germany would then become an tremendous security problem.

  4. Problem here is a wrong presumption. There is no such thing as international law at all. Law by definition is a set of rules implemented by a monopoly of force (the state). There is no monopoly of force in international relations, hence international law doesn't exist.

    1. Problem is you're making up a definition.




      I do not appreciate lying, or liars.

  5. Before you decide to stick liar label to someone you should read some books too.

    For example something on introduction in law for a start.


    I live in a country that knows really well how the West understands and respects international law so don't lecturing me. And hold JD and LLM in international law fyi.

    I'm sorry to disturb your Gleichschaltung corner and I'll keep away from your blog in the future.

    1. The word "law" is ENGLISH. Nobody cares what another word in another language means.

      Thanks for staying away, liar.