The Greek Cypriot Defence Ministry has reportedly started to “implement the government’s decision to purchase” the Iron Dome missile defence system, with agreements already being signed with Israel. The media did not specify how many batteries the system would be acquired or when they would arrive on the island. It is claimed that the two countries were in discussing the deal since early 2021.
Earlier in March, Greek Cypriot military chief Lieutenant-General Demokritos Zervakis went on his first official visit to Israel to examine Iron Dome. “During his visit to Israel, the general will receive a briefing at the northern border and will visit an Iron Dome air-defence system battery,” the IDF said in a statement.
The air defence system is designed to intercept and destroy missiles and rockets heading for populated areas. In October 2021, Greek news reports indicated that Greek Cyprus was in advanced negotiations with Israel to purchase Iron Dome batteries.
The history of division
Cyprus is a divided island into two governments. The Republic of Cyprus was established in 1960 with the London and Zurich Agreements before the political division. The Greek and Turkish Cypriots were the two founding communities, while the United Kingdom, Turkiye and Greece were three guarantor states. The division process started in 1974 when the Greek Junta that had ruled Greece since 1967 initiated a military coup d'état in Cyprus. The Junta was a right-wing military dictatorship. On 15 July 1974, the coup plotters removed the sitting President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, from office and replaced him with the pro-Enosis ultra-nationalist Nikos Sampson. The Sampson regime’s ultimate aim was Greece’s annexation of the island. The administration proclaimed the establishment of the “Hellenic Republic of Cyprus” while the coup was viewed as illegal by the United Nations. The Sampson regime killed both Greek and Turkish Cypriots with the ultimate aim of annexation. In response to the coup, on 20 July 1974, Turkiye initiated the “peace operation” on the island to save the Turkish lives as it was compliant with the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. Turkish military took control of the north and divided the island by the Green Line. The Turkish Cypriots established an independent government called the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus (TFSC) with the hope of being a part of the Cyprus Republic with federation rights. The Cyprus Republic denied them, and in 1983 Turkish Cypriots proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on the northern part of the island.