If I write “under illegal occupation for 40 years,” most benighted Western liberals will immediately think of Israel and the West Bank. But, they’d be wrong. The worst case of an illegal military occupation by a Middle Eastern country of the sovereign territory of another country is that of Turkey in Cyprus. I haven’t seen any demonstrations against this illegal and inhumane occupation, I wonder why?
In 1974 the Turkish Army took over northern Cyprus to protect the Turkish citizens of the State of Cyprus against its Greek citizens and declared the Turkish State of Northern Cyprus (40% of the island), that is illegal and has not been recognized by any other nation in the world. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Turkey from criticizing Israel for its “occupation” of the West Bank. But, there is a huge difference, the WB is part of the original Palestine Mandate that was intended under international law to become the Jewish State. As such, Israel’s presence there is legal and Israel has a solid claim to that territory. The WB has never (NEVER) been under any recognized Arab sovereignty, certainly not Palestinian.
This comparison is thrown into sharp contrast by the visit to Cyprus of Israeli PM Netanyahu. Of course, he has gone to the southern region of Cyprus that is the internationally recognized sovereign State of Cyprus. One main reason for his visit is that as a result of Israel’s discovery of huge oil and natural gas deposits under the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus has also found such deposits in its waters. Not only is it more economical for both countries to exploit these finds together, but the cost of security for them, in the light of Islamic terrorism, is also very high. And this includes potential claims to these finds by Turkish Northern Cyprus.
There are good relations at present between Cyprus, Israel and also with Greece that is the “elder cousin” of Greek Cyprus. But, Greece is in severe economic difficulties, and Cyprus has turned to Israel to help it exploit the gas/oil finds. That is what Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and PM Netanyahu are discussing. In this case Israel is the senior partner.