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"Poor" Cyprus is among the best-armed countries in the world

04 January 2014 / 13:01:10  GRReporter
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Imagine an island in the eastern Mediterranean, with 800,000 inhabitants, divided into two, having neither maritime forces nor air forces, with an elementary defence system, but with powerful weapons and armies which are armed to the teeth. And on top of all this, its defence system is constantly being cut because of the economic crisis and the Memorandum.

Compared to other countries, according to the report of the German Bonn International Centre for Conversion, Cyprus is among the ten best-armed countries in the world. There are more troops on its territory than anywhere else.

First, there are two British bases in Dhekelia and Episkopi. The British have a military airport for the most modern RAF aircraft, electronic tracking systems, interception radar and a strong military presence.

The military forces of the United Nations (UNFICYP) follow, which have been on the island since 1964 and have military vehicles, armoured vehicles, and of course light weapons. They include soldiers from many countries, even from Argentina.

In the Turkish part of the island, there are Turkish forces of about 38,000 soldiers armed with the most modern weapons and tanks, grenade launchers, artillery, and of course all of this is supported by the Turkish Air Force, which has bases in Turkey located only a few minutes from Cyprus. Since 1974, when the Turks occupied half Cyprus, Ankara has not withdrawn even a single soldier, despite economic problems. Here the forces of the Turkish Cypriots should also be added which are armed by Turkey, as well as about 600 soldiers of the Turkish army in Cyprus (located in Cyprus in 1960, according to the Zurich Agreements for the constitution of Cyprus).

Also, there are the forces of the National Army, which have enough weapons, as well as the forces of the Greek Cypriot army. The modern military airport "Andreas Papandreou" operates in Paphos which was created within the former common defence dogma between Greece and Cyprus.

According to the report of BICC, describing the military situation on the planet, Cyprus ranks 9th and has a higher militarization index than the USA and Turkey. In last year's BICC report, Cyprus ranked 6th. At the time, the first ten included Israel, Singapore, Russia, Armenia, Syria, Jordan, Korea, Azerbaijan and Kuwait. It is noted that Cyprus and Russia are the two European countries which have retained their place in the top ten of the most militarized countries in the world in recent years. Regarding Cyprus, the main reason for this is the unresolved Cyprus issue.

Greece ranks 12th, which is two places up, and Turkey is 24th, the USA ranks 28th and Britain – 64th.

Meanwhile, the expansion of the corruption scandal involving arms in Greece is continuing. Investigator Spiros Georgouleas has ordered the arrest of 78-year-old Dimitris Papachristos, following his hours-long testimony within the investigation of armament programmes.

Papachristos was mentioned in the testimony of former deputy director for armament Antonis Kantas, who said that Papachristos gave him a bribe of 750,000 euro for the delivery of a system. According to Kantas, in 2000, Dimitris Papachristos gave him a commission, so that he could supply self-propelled guns PZH 2000, and the programme cost the state 190.1 million euro. According to Kantas, commissions amounted to 0.5% of the value of the contract, i.e. of a total of 9.5 million euro, he received 750,000 euro.

According to information, a total of 4.6 million euro was deposited into the accounts of Dimitris Papachristos, and according to his testimony 2 million euro was for "illegal payments".

Tags: Cyprus military bases armament corruption Dimitris Papachristos
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