July 20, 2024

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Why does Erdogan suddenly withdraw the panthers from Cyprus?

Why does Erdogan suddenly withdraw the panthers from Cyprus?
When in July 2019, a few days before the first anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, when the international public’s attention was focused on Turkey’s provocations in the Cypriot EEZ, “To Vima” revealed that the Turks had completely moved out of Alexandroupolis. Company 42 German-made Leopard-2A4 armored battle tanks in an illegal garrison of the Turkish army in occupied Cyprus, specifically in occupied Kythrea, pressure began on Ankara to withdraw the Panthers immediately.
But it was already a voice in the wilderness, as Ankara blatantly ignored these pressures, even though it violated the internal legislative rules of the Federal Republic of Germany. These rules expressly prohibited Turkey from transferring German-made or originating weapons systems to Cyprus.

A similar rule applies in Washington and Congress to a strict ban on sending US-made weapons to Cyprus. But Turkey has repeatedly violated these rules, since the Turkish invasion was carried out with American-made aircraft and weapons, and at one time the Turks, in order to strengthen the strength of the occupying forces on the island, brought tanks and multiple rocket launchers. (MLRS), All American Technologies.

The pressure on Ankara was stifling, but the Turks got it. Until yesterday, there was a sudden change in their position: Turkey, by Erdogan’s decision, withdrew the ultra-modern German Leopard-2A4 tanks from the occupied territories. Where does he take them? It is likely that they will return to Alexandroupolis from whence they began to come to Cyprus. But what happened? Why this sudden change in the Turkish position, which has not backed down for 24 years in deference to international rules and pressures?

Once noticing Turkish illegality, which had dramatically altered the balance of power on the long-suffering island, the Cypriot parliament asked the German government to demand that Turkey withdraw the German tanks. There was, in fact, a resolution by the Cypriot parliament calling for Berlin to change its position, but the German government was completely passive and constantly referred to the EU as competent to impose sanctions on Ankara, which Brussels never did. On January 14, 2021, in an article, Deutsche Welle reported, citing the statements of the then German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth, that “Germany does not intend to demand that Turkey withdraw the Leopard 2A4 tanks of German origin that it transferred in 2018 to the occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus and refers to the Union European Union as the competent institution to impose sanctions on Ankara.

However, pressure from Nicosia continued and Cyprus, taking advantage of the fact that Ankara was seeking to resume accession talks, the change of governments in Germany forced Turkey to withdraw these tanks from Cyprus. For the Cypriot National Guard, the withdrawal of a Leopard tank is particularly important because, due to the morphology of the Cypriot soil, it can be galvanized in large numbers.

It is worth noting that Cyprus has been providing facilities to Germany for years, specifically to its navy, and this was the second time that Ankara sent German-made equipment to the occupied territories, after the outdated Milan anti-tank missile systems.

However, the specific modern German tanks may have been retired, but were replaced in March 2021 by American M48-A5 T2s, a Cypriot website reported, noting that they are of an old type and in no way comparable to the Tigers. So it is now up to Congress to force Ankara into compliance to restore legitimacy to equip the occupation forces in Cyprus, with Bob Menendez back in action.

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