ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkey on Tuesday renewed its threat to strike Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles if the Cypriot government goes ahead with its planned deployment on the divided Mediterranean island.
"Turkey’s attitude toward the installation of S-300 missiles on southern Cyprus has not changed since the beginning. It will not change as long as this subject remains on the agenda," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"The security of the Turkish Cypriot people is under the guarantee of Turkey. Turkey will give the necessary response to every attempt to disrupt this."
Cyprus has been divided into rival ethnic Turkish and Greek Cypriot zones since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in response to a short-lived coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece.
Turkey–which keeps some 30,000 troops in the north–last year threatened to use force to prevent deployment of the surface-to-air missiles due to be delivered by October.
The internationally recognized Cypriot government has refused to cancel the order–saying the deployment is purely defensive.
The European Union opened negotiations with the Cypriot government earlier this month on entry to the bloc.
Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot authorities–whose administration is recognized only by Ankara–have threatened to integrate if the EU accession process advances.