October 14, 2009

Turkey, Cyprus cancel wargames to promote peace

Press TV - October 14, 2009 03:09:45 GMT

Turkish F16 jet fighters

Annual military exercises that south Cyprus and Turkey separately hold on the divided island have reportedly been cancelled to prevent tensions during ongoing reunification talks.

“We have decided not to hold the Toros military exercises this year,” The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) spokesperson, Hasan Ercakca, said at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday.

He added, “This illustrates the decisive steps the Turkish side is taking to better the political situation, while negotiations for peace and reunification of the island are going on.”

Cyprus announced on Tuesday that it had canceled the National Guard exercise "Nikiforos", following a decision by Turkey to scrap its joint maneuvers with the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north.

Greek Cyprus administration spokesman Stefanos Stefanu said that although the government had not been informed formally yet about the "Toros" cancellation, it was only natural that "Nikiforos" would be canceled as well.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey militarily intervened and occupied the north of the island following a coup by a group of Greek officers. Turkey maintains a military presence in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which remains a key issue in the talks between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus.

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