Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Cyprus Talks

Edek suggests increasing Greek troops

Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos

Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos suggested that Greece’s troops in Cyprus should be increased during the national council meeting attended by Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias last Tuesday, it has emerged.

Asked to confirm a tweet saying so by former Disy MP Christos Rotsas, an Edek spokeswoman said it was a general suggestion without specifics.

“Yes. It is unacceptable for two of the three guarantor powers to have tens of thousands of troops and Greece – which is defending the majority of the inhabitants – not to,” Maria Panayiotou said, referring to Turkey and the UK.

It is understood that Kotzias did not give any response; he just listened to all the suggestions made by party leaders.

According to Panayiotou, that was one of a number of suggestions submitted by Sizopoulos aiming at upgrading the two countries’ relations and their geostrategic role.

In line with the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, Greece maintains two infantry battalions on the island. There is also a Greek commando unit whose first troops arrived in Cyprus as reinforcements during the July 1974 Turkish invasion. It was subsequently decided to keep the unit in Cyprus and man it with Greek conscripts.

By contrast, Turkey maintains an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 troops in the northern part of the island, fully equipped with armour and artillery.

The exact number of British troops was not immediately known though it is thought there are between 2,000 to 3,000 personnel stationed at two bases in Dhekelia and Akrotiri. Britain also has radar installations on the Troodos mountains and a listening post at Ayios Nicolaos in Famagusta.

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