The United States Senate voted yesterday (25 July) by 57 votes to 42 to lift the embargo on the supply of arms to Turkey.
The United States Senate voted yesterday (25 July) by 57 votes to 42 to lift the embargo on the supply of arms to Turkey. It decided that in future, supplies of arms to Turkey, Greece or Cyprus should depend on progress towards a settlement of the dispute over Cyprus. The proposal to lift the embargo -- of which President Carter is strongly in favour -- has still to be debated in the House of Representatives.
SYNOPSIS: The ban was imposed shortly after Turkish troops had invaded Cyprus in July 1974 -- in the belief that Turkey had broken an agreement by using American arms in the invasion.
It was a brief but ferocious war, in which each side accused the other of indiscriminate murder. The Turkish forces, who had captured the northern town of Kyrenia with their first wave of troops, occupied Famagusta, on the east coast, in a second burst of fighting a month later. this gave them control of about a third of the island.
The late President Makarios was temporarily ousted from office by the Greek sponsored coup which provoked the invasion. It was six months before he could return to the ruins of his palace in Nicosia.
Turkish Cypriots, under Mr. Rauf Denktash, established their own community in the north, and want a federal Cypriot state. Statues and posters of Kemal Ataturk emphasise its integration into Turkish traditions. The United States embargo was intended to force Turkey to be more flexible in negotiations with the Greek Cypriots, but Senators said it had proved "counter-productive".
The United Nations Secretary General Dr. Kurt Waldheim has been trying all this year to reach a settlement in Cyprus. The United States Senate has asked for regular reports on progress from the administration as a condition of lifting the arms embargo. In January, Dr. Waldheim brought President Kyprianou -- Archbishop Makarios's successor -- and Mr. Denktash together for the first time, over lunch.
He has also had meetings in Athens with the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Karamanlis, and in Ankara with the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr. Ecevit. President Carter is equally concerned about the effect of the Cyprus dispute on relations between Greece and Turkey, as on the island itself -- since any ill-feeling between two member states weakens the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.