08 April, 2009

What are those British bases on Cyprus for?

This is basically an adjunct to my piece on Northern Cyprus. When Cyprus became independent, Britain obliged its former colony to retain a number of British military bases on the island. As far as I know, these were granted to Britain in perpetuity. Not merely that, but sovereignty in the territory of the bases lies with the UK – Cypriot law does not apply to them, and the bases are effectively part of the UK (or part of the territory of the UK crown).

Now, normally speaking, when you get these kind of bases forced onto a host country, the owner of the base usually undertakes to provide the host with some kind of military protection. I do not know if Britain did this when Cyprus became independent, but I do know that when Cyprus was subject to foreign invasion, the British forces sat on their hands and decided that the defence of their host was nothing to do with them. The British bases on Cyprus seem to exist solely for the benefit of the former colonial master, without even the pretence that they exist to provide security to their Cypriot hosts.

1 comment:

Andrew Sherman said...

Another case is Diego Gracia. The UK should stop behaving like a colonial power.