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National Guard failing in balance of military power

national guard swearing in 2021
Photo by Christos Theodorides

The military balance on the island remained unchanged in 2021, with the Turkish forces in the north outnumbering the National Guard by 3.5 to one, according to a Cypriot Centre of Strategic Studies report released on Saturday.

According to the annual report, certain developments relating to the National Guard’s quantity and quality of equipment and human resources had a negative impact.

“These are gaps and additional problems relating to the reduction in service, dated equipment, limited economic resources, and technology levels,” the report said.

“If these issues are not tackled and reversed as part of a comprehensive and coherent defence policy to reinforce, they will further worsen the balance of power between the occupying forces and the National Guard.”

The centre’s director, Aristos Aristotelous, also said that the creation of a drone base in the north created a new dimension in the arial threat against Cyprus and security in the eastern Mediterranean.

On a political level, the Turkish action effectively sealed the permanence of Ankara’s expansionist intents as well as using the north as “a staging post for displaying military strength and exercising geopolitical influence against the interests of the countries in the region.”

National Guard personnel numbers about 9,500, fewer than in the past because of low birth rate and the reduction in conscript service from 24 to 14 months.

In the north, Turkish forces number around 34,000, according to the report, down from past years.

For each serving National Guardsman there are 3.5 soldiers in the north, whereas the rate is more or less equal when the reservists are added – one to 1.07, the report said.

It also said the land forces equipment was effectively the same on both sides as in previous years, though the occupying forces possessed higher fire power.

There is no competition when it comes to naval and air forces with Turkey enjoying almost full superiority.

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