Cyprus, which has suffered from centuries of various foreign powers, British colonialism, ethnic violence, and a five-decade-long occupation, has seen tensions rise in their Eastern Mediterranean nation. A renewed rise in Turkish ultranationalism has ensued under President Tayyip Erdogan, who has prioritized his ambitions of a Neo-Ottoman Empire.

Already seeking to annex the occupied north of Cyprus, provocations and threats of war have heightened in the past year. The recent attack against United Nations peacekeepers on the Green Line is the most brazen breach of international law since the occupation and proclamation of the internationally condemned faux “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”

Decades of appeasement, United Nations intervention, and British troops have not done anything to deter Turkish troops from continued land grabbing and violations of international law.

With the United Kingdom demilitarized and in economic decline and the European Union in a state of appeasement with Turkey over Azerbaijani gas against Russia, now is the time for the United States to rewrite the mistakes of the past and start deterring the Turkish Republic.

Fixing the Mistakes of the Past

Initially, after WWI, the US government had a policy of self-determination for all peoples in oppressive empires. Decolonization was a significant policy of then-American Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, and Washington pressured Western Europe to give independence to their colonies.

Cyprus was a major priority of self-determination for the EOKA paramilitaries and the US government. Under international pressure, Cyprus would have independence, but not the ‘Enosis’ they sought with Greece.