The US move to supply arms would infringe upon all the efforts that were previously made to build peace in the disputed island region.

The US Senate voted to lift a more than three-decade arms embargo on Southern Cyprus Greek Administration (SCGA) on Tuesday, escalating tensions in the region. 

The Senate passed two more bills in support of SCGA, siding with the administration's ongoing energy disputes with Washington's NATO ally Turkey.

For many security analysts, the move is likely to destabilise the strategically sensitive Eastern Mediterranean and complicate the peace between Turkey, the SCGA and Greece.  

“Arming the Southern Cyprus Administration and Greece is a threat to Turkey despite the US claims the main reason for lifting the embargo is Russia," Mesut Hakki Casin, a professor of international relations at Yeditepe University, told TRT World.  

"It also means the US will be arming a non-NATO member, pitting it against a NATO member, which not only threatens Turkish people but also Cypriot Turks." 

Waiting for US President Donald Trump to sign it into law, the US decision "will have no outcome other than hampering efforts towards a settlement on the island and creating a dangerous escalation", the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement late Tuesday. 

Relations between Ankara and Washington are at one of the lowest points in recent history as the latter ignored the security threats of the former during the ongoing Syrian civil war. In 2015, the US forged ties with the YPG, a Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for several decades, killing tens of thousands of civilians and security personnel. 

With the lifting of the arms embargo, experts say the US is opening a new front against Turkey from the Eastern Mediterranean. 

"Turkey defends a fair share in the Eastern Mediterranean under international law and norms. And the presence of any military force in the region as a result of the lifting of arms embargo will be unacceptable for Turkey. Turkey wouldn't let aggression to prevail over the law and the recent Libya-Turkey maritime agreement only strengthens Ankara's legal position in the region,” Casin said. 

The SCGA is one of the sensitive areas in the Eastern Mediterranean as the island has been divided since 1974, when Turkey sent its troops into the region in response to a coup engineered by the then-military regime in Athens.

By arming the SCGA, Casin said, the US is creating a situation as dangerous as pre-World War II days, the time when Nazi Germany, Japan and other world powers were engaged in an arms race to fuel their respective war machines.  

“I believe that the lifting of the arms embargo could also result in close combat since it threatens Turkey’s stability in eastern mediterranean," Casin said. 

"Besides, it also puts Turkish soldiers at risk because the arms that will pour into the region won't be basic weapons. They include anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons." 

During the Cold War, the US dominated the Soviets in the Eastern Mediterranean by using its sixth fleet, which was supported by Turkey providing harbours and logistical support. 

As Russia gained an upper hand in Syria and Ukraine, Casin said, the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean has changed in recent years. 

“The changing point is that the US now supports Greece, the Greek Cypriots and Israel, establishing a new front to expand its sphere of influence. The most important point is that the US ignores one of its biggest allies Turkey and it will go down as a mistake in the history of the United States,” Casin said. 

Source: TRT World