Nicosia, 5 November 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Turkish troops staging war games on Cyprus have destroyed a mock missile launchpad on the northern side of the island.
Reports say the troops, dropped in by helicopter, placed explosive charges around four missile launchers built to resemble Russian-made S-300 ground-to-air missiles. The Cypriot government, dominated by Greek-Cypriots, said recently it will buy S-300s from Russia to shore up its defenses.
Correspondents say the maneuver appeared to be a warning to Greek-Cypriots not to deploy the missiles, which Turkey says could also hit targets on its mainland.
About 30,000 Turkish soldiers are holding war games on the island this week in response to Greek and Cypriot exercises held last month. The divided island has been a main point of dispute between Greece and Turkey since Turkish forces occupied northern Cyprus in 1974 following a Greek-Cypriot coup attempt.