BRITISH AMERICAN SECURITY INFORMATION COUNCIL
Washington Rebuffs Turkish Fear Over Russian Missiles for Cyprus
The US State Department has refuted Turkish claims that the Russian missiles due to arrive in Cyprus later this year are intended for offensive strikes. Ankara argues that the SA-10C Surface-to-Air missiles also known as S-300 PMU-1s could be converted into Surface-to-Surface missiles (SSM), threatening Turkish territory. An internal document prepared in January 1998 for the negotiating team of former US envoy to Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, states that:
The document, which is based on the assessment of experts at the US Army Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC), goes on to state that even if the Cypriots were using the missiles in a surface to surface mode, their range would be very limited.
The paper concludes that:
Turkish politicians have repeatedly used questionable and unfounded arguments when criticising the Greek Cypriots for acquiring these air defence missiles", says Otfried Nassauer, Director of BITS. I wonder what the real interest of the Turkish government is: Creating tensions or stopping the deployment of these missiles, which indeed are part of an intensified and destabilising regional arms race".
The Cypriots would be threatening their own capital, Nicosia, never mind Turkey if they use these missiles for offensive purposes", says Tasos Kokkinides, senior analyst at BASIC.
For background information on the planned deployment of the Russian missiles in Cyprus and the unrelenting military build-up in the region see BASICs research paper released in August 1998, titled Diplomacy and Arms: West Sends Mixed Messages to Aegean Adversaries".
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