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Turkey says Cyprus has become a military base targeting Gaza

Turkish foreign minister says Hezbollah threat against Cyprus is a sign that regional expansion of a war is a real possibility
Turkey's Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan (AFP)
Turkey's Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan (AFP)

Turkey's Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Ankara has received intelligence reports that indicated Cyprus had become a military base for operations in Gaza. 

“We constantly see in intelligence that the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus is a base for certain countries in operations targeting Gaza,” he said during an interview broadcast by Haberturk on Monday.

“When we brought this to the agenda, our European counterparts suddenly declared it a logistics base.” 

Fidan added that using the island for military operations nearby would benefit neither Greece nor the Greek administration in the divided island, and said that calling it a “logistics hub” was an attempt to veil military operations. 

“The regional actors need to see this. There is serious militarisation there,” he said. “It  needs to be prevented.” 

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The statement came after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah last Wednesday threatened Cyprus, warning it against allowing Israel to use its military infrastructure for drills as expectations mount that it will invade southern Lebanon in the coming weeks.

“Opening Cypriot airports and bases to the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon would mean that the Cypriot government is part of the war, and the resistance will deal with it as part of the war,” he said. 

Fidan said that the Hezbollah threat was a sign of a possible expansion of Israel's war on Gaza.

“Right now, these low-intensity conflicts are drawing other actors in,” he said. 

Several public reports illustrated last year that the US and UK are likely running logistics that carry ammunition and arms to Israel and conducting surveillance operations to provide intel to Israeli forces. 

More than 40 US transport aircraft, 20 British transport aircraft and seven heavy transport helicopters arrived at the British Akrotiri base on the island last year, Haaretz reported. Various military and civilian flights have been suspected of transporting military hardware and ammunition to Israel over the course of the war. 

Another publication, Declassified UK, reported in May that the Royal Air Force had flown 200 surveillance flights over Gaza since 3 December. 

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides last week rejected claims by Hezbollah that his country allowed Israel to use its airports and bases for military exercises.

“I therefore reiterate that Cyprus, our country, is absolutely not involved in any way, and is not part of the problem,” he said.

“To the contrary, we demonstrate in practice that we are part of the solution,” he added, referring to the role Cyprus played in establishing a maritime aid route to the Gaza Strip.

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