As Turkish ships searching for oil and gas off the Cypriot coast – near where French company Total has been authorized by the legitimate government to drill – Cyprus and Turkey signed a cooperation agreement in defense.
This lasted for three years, but occurred during a crucial period as Turkey continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen international companies allowed to back down as a health precaution.
The two-year agreement “provides for cooperation in the fields of weaponry and defense technology, and training of personnel in French military schools,” officials said, United Press International reported.
The leaders also agreed to “hold joint exercises and organize mutual visits as part of the activities of the armed forces of the two countries,” Defense Minister Charlambos Petridis said in a statement.
Earlier this year, former Cypriot Defense Minister Savvas Angelides announced improvements to a naval base in the port of Limassol to accommodate French military ships and countries are expected to team up in defense technology and plans to search and rescue.
The non-military elements of the agreement include cooperation on energy, maritime security, terrorism and piracy. It was signed in 2017 and came into effect on August 1, 2020, the two governments said.
Cyprus is a member of the European Union – Turkey is not, but belongs to the NATO defense alliance – which Cyprus does not do, which reduces its ability to cope with growing Turkish provocations.
The European Union, fearing that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will unleash more refugees and migrants on the bloc via Greece who have gone to his country to flee the war and conflicts in their country of origin, has issued only light penalties.
The deal is part of a French effort to exert more influence in the region, the news agency said, after Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades met with French President Emmanuel Macron in July, which resulted in led to stronger French support against Turkey, which did not stop. Erdogan.