The Greeks and the Cypriots, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, are “bad neighbors” and are responsible for Ankara’s untrammeled military build-up, as well as for the creation of the country’s large arms industry.
Addressing an audience of local government officials, Erdogan engaged in a feat of historical revisionism, essentially shifting the blame for Turkey’s 1974 invasion and occupation, to this day, of nearly 40 percent of the island.
“In 1974, during the ‘Cyprus peace operation’, with the ‘silencing operation’, they destroyed our entire communications system. What happened? We founded ASELSAN was created by the Turkish army in 1975 and produces tactical military radios and defence electronic systems for the Turkish armed forces.
“Now we have ASELSAN and we make products much better than that. Moreover, ASELSAN participates in international tenders. Those bad neighbours of ours made us acquire wealth. They made us acquire knowledge, and we are in a position to produce,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.