Turkish UAVs in Geçitkale: A Historic Step from Ankara
The decision to station Turkish UAVs at Geçitkale Airport has been approved by the TRNC Assembly. According to experts emphasizing Turkey's critical step, Ankara has sent a clear message not only to the Greek Cypriot side but also to all the powers with plans in the region. It is emphasized that the equation will change even more with the possible establishment of a naval base in the TRNC.
When the Turkish UAV took off from Dalaman and landed at Geçitkale Airport in Northern Cyprus, the calendars showed December 16, 2019... After more than four years since this flight, a new development has occurred in recent days. The TRNC Assembly has granted permission for Geçitkale Airport to host Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Thus, Geçitkale officially became the center where Turkish UAVs will be stationed.
So, why is it important for Turkey to have a UAV base in the TRNC? How will this affect Ankara's position in the region? We discussed the answers to all these questions and more with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Emete Gözügüzelli from the International Law Department of the TRNC/Nicosia Law Faculty.
"One of the Most Critical Signatures of the 60-Year Process"
When considering the political process in the TRNC, Gözügüzelli emphasizes that Turkey has not taken clear steps regarding military bases there. However, she says that with the beginning of the new process called the 'Turkish Century,' practical steps have been taken regarding the TRNC.
It is noteworthy that the first move on the TRNC side came as an 'airbase'... Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gözügüzelli points this out and says, "Turkey has taken a position that will restrain possible hostile actions in both the island and different points of the Eastern Mediterranean. This will strengthen us militarily and intelligence-wise. The Geçitkale issue is one of the most strategic works Turkey has undertaken since becoming a guarantor of the TRNC in 1960."
"The EU's 'Single Country' Thesis is Also Undermined"
Gözügüzelli believes that interpreting Turkey's move only in relation to the Greeks or directly to Athens would be incomplete. She adds that one of the recipients of this move is the European Union.
Referring to the fact that the EU has so far regarded the Cyprus Island as a 'single country' and called it the so-called Republic of Cyprus, she says that Turkey, as demonstrated once again by Geçitkale, will definitely not allow fait accompli.
Seeing it as a reflection of the geopolitical power Turkey has gained in recent years, Gözügüzelli says, "While Turkey is bending the EU's plans, it is also thwarting political, military, and legal impositions aimed at the Turkish Cypriots, from the UN to other power centers. Not just them... It also clearly buries some scenarios voiced by certain circles in the TRNC."
"Will Facilitate the Strengthening of the Turkish Axis"
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Emeti Gözügüzelli emphasizes that within the scope of the 'Turkish Century' policy, our country undertakes significant roles in preserving international security and peace. She continues:
"This is a move that targets some centers that threaten the peace and tranquility of other countries in the region. It also sends a signal to expansionist policies, saying 'I won't allow this.'
It's not just limited to these... We're talking about a very strategic location with an area of influence from Africa to the Suez Canal, from the Caspian Sea to even the Atlantic Ocean. The steps taken and to be taken over the Cyprus Island regarding the reflections of the Turkish axis are vital.
The establishment of a possible Turkish Naval Base in the region in the future is also on the table... Geçitkale's hosting of Turkish UAVs is crucial for ensuring its security.
All the data obtained by our aerial vehicles will be valuable for combating illegal migration, monitoring some regions' regional activities, fishing, or hydrocarbon exploration processes."
"A Great Gain for Countries Recognizing the TRNC"
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gözügüzelli also emphasizes the fact that a NATO member country has obtained an airbase on the Cyprus Island with Geçitkale. She says that this reality is crucial for Europe's security. She recalls that some non-NATO member countries in the region have previously attempted this, but none of them can create an impact like Turkey.
Pointing out the connection between the UAV base in Geçitkale and the recognition of the TRNC by some countries, she concludes, "We're talking about a very wide and strategic area from the Mediterranean to Africa. Here, Geçitkale will ensure guarantees for recognized countries in such a strategic region."