A battalion in the occupied areas recently posted to Turkey has nothing to do with negotiations on the Cyprus problem and will return to duties once it can be replaced in Sirnak, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) reportedly said on Wednesday.
The statement puts an end to speculation which surfaced a month ago when Turkish Cypriot press reported the battalion was being sent to Turkey. It was believed this may have been seen as a development in negotiations for the Cyprus problem.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, a TAF spokesman said “a battalion of well trained soldiers and NCOs at the ‘TRNC’ were deployed to Beytussebap, in Sirnak. They will take up duties of protecting a military base.” They will be involved in operations against the PKK.
“Deploying a military unit from the ‘TRNC’ to Turkey has nothing to do with negotiations for the Cyprus problem,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.
They will however be returning to their post in the north, the CNA said.
Wednesday’s announcement came as a response to a piece published by Saygi Ozturk in Turkish newspaper Sozcu calling on the TAF chief to explain why military forces in the north were being withdrawn from their posts a time when there were ongoing negotiations on the Cyprus problem.
The story was first published by Turkish Cypriot paper Afrika however it did not have an official confirmation from the TAF or the Turkish government.