Turkey Threatens to Bar Russia from Arms Deals

ISTANBUL (Reuters)–Turkey’s defense minister said Thursday the sale of Russian-made missile systems to Greek Cyprus would hurt Moscow’s chances of winning Turkish arms contracts–Anatolian news agency reported.

"The countries from which we buy weapons will be those which support our causes. Everyone must be careful how they act on this subject," Ismet Sezgin told reporters in a speech that dealt at length with the Cypriot missile plans.

He said the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles–set to arrive in southern Cyprus in August–would be a direct threat to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot enclave in the north of the island.

"The deployment of S-300 missiles in Cyprus would be madness," he said.

Turkey keeps around 30,000 troops in the breakaway northern Cypriot state–which only Ankara recognizes.

The northern third of the Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded. Only the Greek Cypriot government is recognized internationally.

United Nations initiatives to reunite the island have repeatedly failed.

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