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August 14, 2022

British MP: Cyprus peace prevails due to UK troops

THERE is peace in Cyprus because of the UK’s presence on the island, a senior British MP appeared to suggest during a debate on Afghanistan.By ELTAN HALİL

THERE is peace in Cyprus because of the UK’s presence on the island, a senior British MP appeared to suggest during a debate on Afghanistan.
Thomas Tugendhat, chair of the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, referred to Cyprus in an emotive speech to a packed House of Commons on Wednesday in which he said that it is “not armies that win wars” but “patience”.
“We know that patience wins,” he said. “We know it because we have achieved it; we know it because we have delivered it. The cold war was won with patience; Cyprus is at peace, with patience; South Korea, with more than 10 times the number of troops that America had in Afghanistan, is prosperous through patience. So let us stop talking about forever wars. Let us recognise that forever peace is bought, not cheaply, but hard, through determination and the will to endure. The tragedy of Afghanistan is that we are swapping that patient achievement for a second fire and a second war.”
Ahead of the debate Mr Tugendhat, a Conservative MP, wrote in an article for the New Statesman that US President Joe Biden had “abandoned” the Afghan people while Britain stood “idly by”.
In the article he used the example of Cyprus to back up his argument, writing: “Walking out of Germany in 1950 would have resulted in a newly reformed Wehrmacht steamrolled by Soviet troops.
“Leaving Cyprus today would risk another explosion of violence on the Green Line. Instead of pulling out, we stayed in both.”
In an article published in The Times about how the UK remains “impotent in the face of US policy” Mr Tugenhadt also referred to the island when he said that Britain should “highlight the strategic patience we have displayed in Cyprus and Estonia”.
Mr Tugenhadt’s suggestion that there is no fighting in Cyprus because of the presence of British troops is likely to raise eyebrows in the TRNC and Turkey.
While the UK is a “guarantor” of Cyprus and maintains sovereign bases areas on the island, it refused to join Turkey to intervene following the Greek-backed coup on July 15, 1974, to unite the island with Greece, and the attacks on the Turkish Cypriot population.
Former MP Michael Stephen wrote in a 2004 report that in 1976 the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Cyprus found that Turkey had proposed joint Anglo-Turkish action in 1974, but that the Labour government at the time “refused to take any effective action, even though they had troops and aircraft in the Sovereign Bases in Cyprus”.
The Select Committee concluded that “Britain had a legal right to intervene, she had a moral obligation to intervene [but] she did not intervene for reasons which the Government refuses to give.”

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