Israel eyes Cyprus for military air base

ISRAEL will ask the Cyprus government for permission to station military jets at the Andreas Papandreou airbase in Paphos, creating the first Israeli military station outside the Jewish state.

It is unknown if the plans include a permanent military presence on the island, with a full time deployment of airmen – but it is understood the matter will be discussed when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits later this month, becoming the country’s first premier to visit the island.

According to the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency, the prospect “is at the exploratory stage – it’s not clear if it will or won’t happen,” an Israeli official told the agency.

The official, however, allowed that such a potential offshore airbase “is an existing option, and we’re investigating the possibility,” but again cautioned that such an agreement “isn’t totally sewn up.”

Rumours that Israel had requested use of the base have been circulating for several months, and the request is understood to have been discussed at a recent meeting between the Cypriot Minister of defense and his Israeli counterpart.


However, as ties with Cyprus strengthen, Tel Aviv is also slowly repairing its relationship with Ankara.

Last month an air force coordination mechanism is installed in order to prevent misunderstandings and potential clashes between Turkish and Israeli military planes patrolling over the Mediterranean Sea was reactivated after it was suspended following the May 31, 2010 raid on the humanitarian aid ship Mavi Marmara.

An unnamed senior official of the Israeli Air Force stated that this coordination mechanism was reactivated as part of the two countries’ efforts to “stabilize and improve ties.” In December, the Turkish military attache to Israel attended an Israeli Air Force briefing for foreign military officers at the Ovda Air Force Base on the sidelines of the Israeli joint maneuvers with the Italian Air Force.

The official also stated that the Israeli Air Force would also likely invite Turkey to participate in a large-scale international aerial drill that it will be hosting in Israel in 2013. “There is nothing preventing Turkey from participating,” the official said.


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  • Yiannako

    huge tactical moves by the Israelis, if this goes through…

  • Canavar

    It will be interesting to see what blow hard Erdogan will threaten in his temper tantrum response.

    The Turks have no fear of bullying tiny Cyprus (with 1/60 of the population of Turkey). But
    when they confront a country with real power their threats soon dissipate since they are nothing but bluster.

    So what will come out of this, after the hot air has departed, will be a more secure Cyprus which will be able to develop its gas reserves without constant threats, blackmail, and harassment by the Turks.

    Cyprus needs freedom from Turkey and Turkey greatly deserves to be humiliated. This should do both tricks.

    Also don’t take the “repair” of Israel-Turkey relations too seriously. It isn’t going to happen as long as Erdogan and his AKP are in power. The Israelis aren’t suckers. There would be outrage in Israel if it “repaired” its relations with a country which just rolled out the red carpet for the head of Hamas. Read the English editions of Israeli newspapers and you find out what typical Israelis think about the Turks. Funny thing. The Greeks, Cypriots, Armenians, could have told them the score ages ago–but the wouldn’t have listened.

    • Eric R.


      You and I agree a lot, but I’m not sure that this is a good idea, for a very ugly reason:

      Erdogan, like most Muslims, (and many Europeans) simply becomes a frothing, hate-filled Nazi nutcase when it comes to Jews and Israel. If Israel has a base here, and a full scale war breaks out in the Middle East, he will use the “suffering” of the Palis and of the Hezbolla-Nazis in Lebanon (as Israel has to bomb the sh*t out of them to stop the missiles) as an excuse to invade ALL of Cyprus to make him look like a hero in acting against Israel – the pretext would be to capture the Israeli bases. There would be widescale massacres of Greek Cypriots in retaliation for Israeli actions to defend herself, in the hope that not only would the attacks make him a hero in the Sunni Muslim world, but that the Greeks and Greek Cypriots would revert to historical form and blame Israel and the Jews for the massacres. And I am afraid many would.

      I think the better course of action is for Israel to provide military upgrades to the Greek Air Force, and let the Greeks defend Cyprus.

      Chances are if such a war breaks out, it would be in the midst of a wider Mideast war anyway, and Israel would have to bring her fighters back home.

      • Tyroneez

        Dear Eric
        I understand your misgivings , and of course you are right …
        These stratigic manoeuvrings , can never have a clear cut and fully predictable outcome…
        It’s like a game of chess …you make your move … And it can weaken or enhance your position … One never knows
        All you can do is weigh the pros and cons !!
        But i feel that for Cyprus the pros far outweigh the cons
        For as turkey continues to build up it’s offensive military machine apace … With a view to expanding it’s reach into legally Greek EEZ …
        And Greece determined to fight if attacked … Than far off Cyprus will be quickly overrun anyway …
        The west will not stop turkey militarily …
        So if Cyprus can obtain an isreali guarantee by virtue of an isreali pipeline via Cyprus or a LNG terminal at larnaca …
        Than granting a facility at the paphos air base to the isreali airforce is exactly the right thing to do
        I don’t think many people have noticed …
        the fundamental shift i’n the geo-political balance of power i’n the eastern med … That took place i’n late December last year ..
        This was a seminal moment i’n the regions history …
        Turkey since 1974 … Has believed that with it’s occupation of northern cyprus ( all be it illegal and unrecognised ) ….
        It had PERMANENTLY established hegemony over the whole ISLAND and by extension the seas around it …
        The Anglo – Americans and To some extent isreal ,were content to allow Turkey to take on this role … Seeing it as just an expediancy to kept the Russians out … Despite thd injustice to tbd Greek Cypriots ..
        Greece built the airbase on Cyprus i’n the 1980s i’n an attempt to i’n some part counter any future hostile Turkish
        move on Cyprus …although the distance to greece is so great that it’s effectiveness would be limited …

        It’s been so long now that turkey has forgotten that it’s position on Cyprus … Is only possible by the grace and favour of western interests ….
        By threatening the gas drilling by Cyprus in the seas south of the island … It was overstepping it’s petmitted zone of influence …( IE the line runing threw the middle of cyprus ) and thus interfered with Israeli interests …
        And by threatening Israel i’n it’s own EEZ both verbally and physically , by naval shelling on the line between the Isreali and cypriot EEZ …and overflying the isreali drilling rig at leviathan .. was attempting to extend it zone of control south of Cyprus as far as gaza and Egypt …
        Israel obviously could not tolerate an extension of Turkish control over the whole eastern med …was forced to take immediate and drastic action …
        Isreali jets flew over the Turkish war ships , and not only over the free areas of Cyprus … But intentionally (and against turkish warnings not to ) … Actually flew north over Turkish occupied Nicosia … As far as the Turkish coast at antalya …
        Thus signalling to everybody including Turkey the USA and BRITAIN … That it clearly sees the southern eastern med … As vital to it’s interests …
        Tutkey having finally woken up from it’s long held imaginary dream world …of superpower status ??
        Was forced to back down … No doubt after some strong words from Washington and London …
        As anybody with any brains knows .. That as far as washington is concerned ,although Turkey may trump Greece , israel trumps turkey anyday …
        Isreal having seen the danger … Has now decided that it has to force the point home by establishing a permanent presence on thd island , which it must do if it’s to run a pipeline west ..or spend billions on a gas terminal on Cyprus ..
        Turkey has only got itself to blame … By pushing Isreal into the arms of Greece snd cyprus … It has shot itself i’n the foot …
        And by forgetting the very delicate balance of power i’n the regions seas … Has only succeeded i’n exposing the actual weakness of it’s overhyped military strength …
        God knows what possessed them … Perhaps they thought they were dealing with Greece , i’n the Aegean and Cyprus …
        Not that Greece is any less Brave or capable of defending itself …than isreal …but Greece is handicapped by thd fact that any Greek first strike military response … To Turkish threats will not meet with the approval of Washington or London ..who are constantly pressing greece to make concessions to Turkey , even without a fight …
        Something which greece has consistently refused to do these 40 years now … Maintaing it’s steadfast position … That if attacked it will fight … And scrambling aircraft and naval units to counter Turkish encroachments on a sometimes weekly basis …
        Greece has also to be always mindful of the exposed position of Cyprus … So far away ..
        Turkey has held Cyprus hostage , for the good behaviour of Greece ever since 1974 …
        Hence this anomalous and precariously destabilising standoff between two erstshile NATO allies …
        With turkey constantly pushing and prodding , looking for a chink in the armour or trying to provoke an incident so as to justify an intervention ..
        and greece snd Cyprus … Refusing to give an inch …
        All for the control of the EEZ and it’s riches ..
        I cannot judge yet , wether isreal has decided that it has to cover it’s back (i’n the event of a coming conflict with IRAN)
        IE that it cannot tolerate a potential enemy .. To be ensconsed i’n Cyprus ..and therefore will … Push Washington to force turkey to settle the Cyprus problem fairly and remove it’s armed forces entirely …
        We will know soon enough .. Trust me …
        Anybody can see that it’s far better for isresl to have the small peaceful country ….that actually legally owns the EEZ (And that can never pose a threat ,) sitting i’n thd middle of the eastern med EEZ …
        The value of Cyprus to isreal is that it’s independance and continued existence , denies any other power control of thd strategic seas so close to isresl …
        Thd last thing the isrealis need is to have a giant snarling wolf with gnashing teeth breathing down it’s neck , right on top of it’s gas fields …
        Barely 50 miles from tel-aviv ??
        I think isreal has realised that if it leaves turkey i’n Cyprus might as well give up and invite IRAN to the island as well …
        And As to this new agreement with turkey , to avoid an accidental clash …
        That is Turkey … Running scared … Since having realised that it cannot match the isrealis (yet) ..
        It wants to avoid a conflict for now … Lest it’s weakness is exposed further and it’s position totally undermined …
        They will soon go back to smilling and playing the friend …
        But they cannot be trusted … In a general conflict the Turks will turn again … Not because they are bad people .. But they havd plainly said themselves they are looking to resurrect lost empires …
        Starting with Cyprus and greece and ending with Mecca …and picking up Palestine on thd way ..
        And yes they tolerated thd Jews as instructed i’n the Koran …but only as a quiasant scattered minority ..never as a nation state …
        OH ISRAEL , ISRAEL what were you thinking ??

        • Eric R.


          While what you say makes a lot of sense, let me repeat my above statement – when it comes to Jews and Israel, the Muslims world becomes crazy and acts without sense.

          This hatred blinds the Muslim fanatics like Erdogan. Israel is now trying to create an alliance with every non-Muslim state that surrounds Turkey – Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, etc. That is not in Turkey’s interest, but to Erdogan, hating and killing Jews is more important.

          Perhaps he thinks that this alliance will not matter. That an all-out war with Lebanon, Gaza and Syria will tie up Israel and she will be unable to defend Cyprus. That Greece is so bankrupt that she cannot afford to fight. That Bulgaria will not fight because he will then use its Turkish minority to riot and commit terrorist acts. That his army is so big that it can overcome all of these nations.

          If you really want to hold Erdogan in check, there is one other player that you have to bring in to threaten him, and that is Russia.

        • Canavar

          Excellent analysis.

      • Canavar


        Like everyone else I don’t know what will happen. But I do have a pretty good idea what would happen if your scenario or anything like turns out to occur. (It sure doesn’t take an Einstein to figure it out.)
        First what will our resident Muslim “want to be” do? He would, of course “condemn” the “violence” and scold the Turks for their action. But he also would “regret” the “overreaction” of the Israeli’s. He and the Europeans would demand an “immediate cease fire”. A UN Security Council resolution would be drafted calling for an immediate “to end the hostilities” and “even handedly” demand that BOTH sides “cooperate for peace” . The resolution might pass or it might be vetoed by Russia and China. If the IAF is turning the Turkish Air Force into scrap metal , as I expect it would , one can be assured that the Russians and Chinese will vote yes, and hail themselves as champions of “peace” to boot. Erdogan would ,of course, would go ballistic (along with most of his countrymen) and among other things he would successfully petition the General Assembly to condemn Israel’s “agression”. He might even try to get the International Tribunal to indict top Israeli leaders for “war crimes”. Meanwhile, back home Obama would make an address to the nation saying that “we and Israel are of one mind on this issue”. Obama would probably also give a very pro-Israel speech to AIPAC, etc. But he would soon again be on the phone with “one of his five most trusted leaders”, the man he likes to hug the most, the one and only Prime Minister Erdogan. He would give Tayyip Bey reassurances that “America won’t do anything rash”, that he views Turkey as “a critically important ally”, and that after this unpleasantness Turkish-American relations “will be stronger than ever”.

        Let’s hope your nightmare scenario never comes to be. But an even greater nightmare would be is that if comes that Obama is still in the White House, instead of a Republican.

        • Canavar

          This is the comment which I left on the Armenian genocide site that I asked you to comment on.

          “Excellent post Tyroneeze. I’ve found that we can totally agree on somethings. I have two qualifications.
          1)NO they want more !!!
          Little Cyprus
          Little greece
          Little isreal…

          They may want those countries. But they are sure not going to get them.
          As I understand, the first recorded evidence of a Greek language is at least 3,000 years old, and maybe even older. Pre-Abraham Jewish ancestors were a tribe or tribes of idol worshiping desert nomads. Once Abraham came at least some of these people became the first Jews. Their descendants 3,600 later are winning Nobel Prizes at a remarkable rates. Both Greeks and Jews are peoples with great contributions to Western Civilization (the Greeks in the intellectual sphere, the Jews in the moral sphere) in ancient times, and they are vibrant to this day.

          Forget it Turks. The Greeks and Jews were ancient when Attila the Hun was born. And they will still be around when you are as remembered as the Lydians.

          2) The Israeli Jews were forced by Muslim hate over a period of at least 100 years to build a very powerful army with the 4th best air force in the world. The population and area giants America, Russia, and China are 1,2.and 3. Then comes Israel, a country so tiny that it is invisible on some maps. So Turks keep your attacks on Israel at the hot air level. If you go further you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

  • Solinariforever

    Cyprus is becoming a war base make no mistake – It is ironic because Kissinger screwed the Greeks in 1974 allowing Turkey to proclaim Cyprus a UN ethnic cleansing precedence and history showcase. Many think that was for Israel’s benefit. An Israeli Prime minister admitted it later by his famous “Look to Cyprus! they have no problem living apart!”.
    Turkey deserves this. The idiots in Ankara allowed this! they brought it upon themselves by holding Cyprus and Greece hostage with their overflights and force brandishing. Hello…the eighteen hundreds are gone for ever. I am sure the only thing the Turks can not even dream about, because they can not think out of the box, is a Turkish alliance with Greece! Wouldn’t that be something!
    A new power is growing and Turkey should be prepared for more problems….. Adventurous Davutoglu can not see he can not take on the whole world.
    I can now see the Turkish generals running to Iran, scrambling to go nuclear and save themselves from what is coming.

  • Phoevos

    Personally, I think we should give Israel 10 bases just in case they need a spare or two.

    • Eric R.

      Phoevos, can you comment on this article? I think you could give a fair assessment.

      It seems that the government now in power has some people that, from the viewpoint of Israel and Jews, might not be terribly friendly. Karatzeferis especially has been labeled as an extreme anti-Semite.

      Obviously, Israel believes it can work with the new government. Are the people mentioned in the article – can they cause trouble for the new alliance?

      • Phoevos


        This is an old article; many things have changed since then.

        Karatzaferis saw his party decline from 8% of the voters preference down to 5%. Samaras stands at 31% and Papandreou at 8%.

        Don’t worry about Karatzaferis; he is a non-entity.

        • Onur O.

          Turkish named thug Kara-zafer dropped to 5% because according to recent polls in Greece, a new and much more violent fascist party is rising their support up to 4%. It`s Chrysi Avyi (Golden Dawn). These fascists will be represented in the Greek parliament after the elections.

          They are responsible for all the recent racist attacks in Greece, including ridicules actions like chasing immigrants in the streets with chainsaws and beating random people to death. Also they regularly desecrate Jewish&Turkish monuments, graveyards and slaughter pigs at the entrance of the few remaining ottoman era mosques in Thrace;

          This is a doorway of a ~500 year old mosque in Kavala Greece, few months ago;

          • John

            At least we do not have the far right wing in our government nor it is nazism our state policy. Unlike Turkey of course where this is the case (extreme natianalism now mixed with islamish in the blender) since the founding of the republic. Onur you post a picture of a slaughtered pig outside a mosque. I am sure that you could also find numerous pictures of Greek people of the now ex Greek minority in Turkey tortured or slaughtered . No Turk is allowed to critize others as racist.

            As for the LAOS party it is now paying the price for being a government party. It is natural. Chrysi Avgi on the other hand is indeed rising but not for its anti muslim or anti jew rhetoric. First of all it is a protest against the conservative right wing party which fell under the expectations of some of its supporters. And secondly because of the huge immigration problem especially in the center of Athens. This latter is similar to what happened in France with Le Pen. And Turkey is still falling short in cooperating in the immigration problem with the EU and Greece, despite the treaties signed. Honor your signature for once!

          • John

            I forgot to add that LAOS is not a fascist party at all. Many of its political opponents tried to spill its fame by suggesting that when they realized that it is a political threat to them but they failed. And they failed because there is not a single statement in its program or any of its official documents that supports a fascist policy.

          • Onur O.

            Ohh yes, LAOS is actually a humanist party and me, the big bad Turk is lying about them, right? Then what is this?;

            ***See the guy in the photo there, dangling an axe from his left hand? That’s Greece’s new “Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks” Makis Voridis captured back in the 1980s, when he led a fascist student group called “Student Alternative” at the University of Athens law school. It’s 1985, and Minister Voridis, dressed like some Kajagoogoo Nazi, is caught on camera patrolling the campus with his fellow fascists, hunting for suspected leftist students to bash.***


          • Perro Aguayo

            Again, so what? What impact does this have on your miserable life? Smoke a joint dude and relax. Let us deal with the mess your compatriotes have left us with these drags of society. Golden Dawn are national heroes!

          • SpiroP

            What do you call the illegal immigrants who kill, rape, rob against the indigenous Greek population? These illegal immigrants are attacking Greeks on their lands. No one asked for these illegal immigrants to come to Greece. Turkish mongrels send them via boats, cars and on foot to Greece. Turkish mongrels know that illegal immigration will destroy Greece and they will simply have won a war against Greece without even fighting a war.

            The Golden Dawn wants a country that is Greek not a multi-culture cesspool that creates ghettos, dreams of separation (ask the Serbs about the albanians) and the destruction of a Greek people. Israel wants the same and a lot of other countries do too. Look at Japan, Korea the majority of asian countries don’t put up with invasion of their ancestral homelands by illegal immigrants. Do you think Japan would put up with hundreds of thousand of africans, pakistanis flooding their country? Do you think they would put up with these illegal immigrants reaching 10-20% of the population of indigenous Japanese? No bloody way. The turks solve their minority problems by liquidating them. turks know that when a minority reaches a critical mass in a country it will seek to separate and gain independence. Look at how the turks are dealing with the kurds who are the indigenous people in certain parts of present day turkey. Large percentage of people in various countries also believe multiculturalism is a failure and will lead to the destruction of the indigenous population culture and people. However, the incessant propaganda of left wing retards branding anyone who disagrees with their utopia of mixed cultures/populations is branded a racist or fascist. No one wants to be branded a racist.

            The majority of anti-Semite actions are from non-Greeks (illegal immigrants of muslim faith) and leftwing-marxist-socialists-anarchist spectrum. The lack of Isreali/jewish american lobby support for Greek matters (Kissinger and Cyprus) has not helped the situation. You would think that Greeks are anti-american and too. But they oppose the foreign policies of the US not the people of the US. Greeks are fed up with anti-Greek policies and foreign policy that is unfair and biased against Greeks. If you think Israelis are free of anti-Greek or Greek Orthodox feelings you are wrong. There are some elements of the Israeli population who have attacked Greek Orthodox churches, monasteries, clergy men (most recent case last week). Read the newspapers of various countries these days and Greece and the Greeks are the plague of the world. If the same was written about Israel it would be called antisemitism.

            By the way….When you quote Wiki you show that you are an uneducated monkey.

          • Perro Aguayo

            So what? That’s still not as bad as you bumpkins massacring millions of Armenians and desecrating thousands of Greek Byzantine churches over the years! You are in no position to start pointing fingers, buddy! Go back to bed.

          • Sikoseto

            Never mind the fact Turkey is run by extremist Islamic terrorist thugs, and you have the nerve to whinge about a party that has 4% support LOL pull the other one moron

          • Eric R.

            Onur, while you seem like a guy with a lot of knowledge, I don’t think that people in Turkey, which just elected Islamists to power, should be pointing out about extremists in other countries who get 4% of the vote.

            And please do not tell me that Erdogan is moderate. There is no such thing as a moderate Islamist party. Just like there is no such thing as a moderate Marxist.

          • Onur O.

            Ask this question to CIA/NATO and western world. They are the ones who forcefully creates this abomination called “moderate islam” as a role model to all the so-called “islamic countries”.

            AKP is the very first ruling political party in ~90 year old democratic Turkey who claimed to be “muslim democrats”, copying the tag “christian democrats” already exists in Europe. AKP is fully supported by them by using all means in Turkey, media, NGOs with foreign aid etc.

            Turkey is a strict secular country for ~90 years and there is some kind of cold war inside Turkey since AKP came to power. We were not a religious country unlike Israel or Greece. Our politicians gives an oath to the people, not front of bearded people with the so-called holy books as it happens in Greece or Israel. We will never be like that despite AKP and their supporters from the NATO.

            P.S: There is no moderate christianism or judaism either. You might think so but you are wrong. All religious states falls in to fundamentalism sooner or later.

  • Georgioskoroneos

    well…getting back with the OTTOS in my opinion its like a greased slide since can not be trusted ,period,let alone what situation they may try its muddy bad enough around on the other hand supporting forward any kind of ISRAELI base in the island since this might give some kick or stay power of some size and protection .’

  • Georgioskoroneos

    then again if the ISRAELIS make the base they in my opinion will improved their position too and control some how the OTTO’S meat grinder.-

  • Solinariforever

    Actually the Paphos base, if I am not mistaken had originally been built by Greece (1980s) with the plan to, within the “Greece-Cyprus common defense declaration” build up an air wing that eventually with the s-300s and patriot batteries would be able to defend the island.

    The plan was finally scrapped because of Turkish objections and Washington’s insistence “the plan is not needed; the island will be defended by the Europeans!”
    I am almost certain this item was discussed in the meetings between Greece and Israel’s high level officials recently.

    Well, the Greeks, probably do not trust the Israelis one hundred percent especially with the right wing being currently in charge there. I suppose the Israelis are looking to Karazaferis right wing ideas with the same eye.

    However, this Israel-Greece alliance should be given a good chance because the two peoples characteristics are making a good foundation for a lasting relationship.

    I suppose the Greeks have no more trust for foreigners since the 1967 dictatorship (supported by US and the west) and the Cyprus invasion by the Turks, also supported by the US.

    The problem is Greece posses a prime piece of geopolitical real estate and under no circumstance will the west let Greece determine its own destiny; I have given up on this notion – a pessimistic view? Maybe.

    • John

      Yes this is correct. The base was built by Greece (however it does not belong to Greece) according to NATO standards (e.g. shelters) under the then newly declared alliance between Greece and Cyprus.

      As soon as it was build Greek fighter jets landed there during common exercises with the Cypriotic National Guard. Turks reacted and they also sent Turkish jet fighters in the airport in the occupied territories.

      Later the two governments agreed to restrain from sending jet fighters in the island.

      However Turkey lately violated numerous times this agreement.

      Bear also in mind that during war time due to the development in the army technology both airfields will be almost immediately destroyed.

      So this issue is more like a political show off and a message from Cyprus and Israel to Turkey to keep off.

      But it also has a more concrete political effect in the protection of the EEZ and FIR in terms of SAR operations during peacetime.

      Turkey is questioning not only the Cypriotic EEZ but also the FIR.

      Turkey is investing heavily in SAR equipment in order to indirectly question in practical terms the Cypriotic FIR (the same policy is followed in the Aegean).

      Imagine for instance a tanker sinking outside Limassol or a worker suffering an accident in an oil platform and a Turkish SAR helicopter or vessel coming to rescue!!!

      Immediately afterwards Turks will say to ICAO, the UN and to everyone else: ” look Cypriots not only have no right to a FIR but they also cannot control it. We Turks only can do that, so we should have the full rights in the area”.

      This will result in a de facto political control of the area.

      Cyprus by itself has limited SAR capabilities. But with the help of Israel (or until Cyprus develops its own means) this issue will be resolved.

      Another aspect of this deal is that Israelis may also see this airport as a protection shelter in case of a massive Arab or Iranian attack. During wartime an airforce dispatches its aircraft in as many airports as possible to minimize the effects of a single airport getting hit by the enemy. In such case the Paphos airbase will be the most secure airport!

  • Sikoseto

    They should not allow Israel to have a base in Cyprus