Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Conspiracy of Greece and Greek Cyprus to Use the E.U.  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 What a fabulous article by Prof. Pierre Oberling, spelling out real history and real geo-political dynamics!

The TAT site constantly points out examples of false scholars who, by intent and/or ignorance, present a one-sided version of events in a hypocritical world prejudiced against Turks. Here is an example of a real scholar. Thank you, Prof. Oberling, for your attention to real facts, to details, and for your... what should be the duty of every true historian... honesty.

I'd like to suggest, in keeping with this article's title, that it is not as though the E.U. has been caught unawares by the shenanigans of Greeks. No, unfortunately, the E.U. is all too willing a prejudiced accomplice. Shame on you, European Union! (Since the writing of this piece, Greek Cyprus has been granted membership in the E.U., while Turkey, which is actually partly located in Europe — in contrast to the island, entirely in Asia— has been kept waiting in the wings forever. Frankly, I hope Turkey will never join this dishonest and bigoted organization.)

(An insightful letter follows. Also, a review of one of Dr. Oberling's books.)



By Pierre Oberling, Ph.D. L.H.D. Professor of History at Hunter College of the City University of New York

In his memoirs, Cyprus: My Deposition, Glafkos Clerides, the head of the Greek Cypriot state, offers the following analysis of the roots of the Cyprus problem: Just as the Greek Cypriot preoccupation [after the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960] was that Cyprus should be a Greek Cypriot state, with a protected Turkish Cypriot minority, the Turkish preoccupation was to defeat any such effort and to maintain the partnership concept, which in their opinion the ' Zurich Agreement (of 1959) created between the two communities. The conflict, therefore, was a conflict of principle and for that principle both sides were prepared to go on arguing and even, if need be, to fight, rather than compromise.

At first glance, this appears to be an objective statement, for it blames both sides equally for the tragedy, which took place in the 1960's and 1970's. But, upon further examination, the flaws in Clerides's argument become ever more salient. The truth of the matter is that the Greek Cypriot preoccupation, as we shall see, was not that Cyprus should be a Greek Cypriot state but a Greek state, and it was not to contain a protected Turkish Cypriot minority but no Turkish Cypriots at all.

Prof. Pierre Oberling

Prof. Pierre Oberling

The conflict was indeed a conflict of principle, but the principles in question were fundamental ones that had already been straining relations between Greeks and Turks well beyond the confines of the small island of Cyprus for over 150 years-namely Greek nationalism vs. Turkish pluralism. Therefore, in order to understand the genesis of the Cyprus dispute, it is necessary to go as far back as the Greek War of Independence of 1821-29.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Greek merchants and shipping tycoons in the major commercial centers of Europe were influenced by the secular ideas of the Enlightenment, as well as by the then fashionable Philhellenic literary movement. They acquired an historical consciousness and growing pride in the achievements of the ancient Greeks. Then, riding the crest of the tidal wave of nationalism, which swept Europe after the Napolenic wars, they began to agitate for Greek independence.

Nationalism rapidly caught on in the Greek provinces of the Ottoman Empire, and soon Greeks of all classes rose against their Turkish overlords. But the liberal nationalism preached by Westernized Greeks, which corresponded to the social, economic and political realities of Western Europe, underwent a complete metamorphosis as more and more non-Westernized Greeks joined the struggle and adapted the new ideology to the mentality of the people of Greece. There, the mostly agrarian inhabitants were still tradition- bound. If they were receptive to nationalism, it was because, through the centuries of Ottoman rule, it was the local priests who had kept alive their sense of cultural identity. Therefore, the Greece that most Greeks hoped to bring back to life was not the Hellas of Pericles (so dear to Westernized Greeks) but Orthodox Byzantium.

As Professor Dennis Skiotis of Harvard University has written in a perceptive article:

This millenarian expectation that a day would surely dawn when God would lift the infidel yoke from his chosen people and would restore to them the Christian Roman Empire in all its majesty and splendor is of fundamental importance in understanding how the Greeks perceived their historical identity and destiny.


Even Rhigas Pheraios, for all his European veneer, showed that deep in his soul he held a similar vision when he composed his famous war song, Thourios, in which he urged his fellow-Greeks to put all of the Ottoman empire to the torch, "from Bosnia to Arabia."

As the heady wine of religious passion mixed with the already intoxicating nectar of political nationalism, it became inevitable that the Greek War of Independence would turn into a religious crusade. In the words of Professor Skiotis,

With savage jubilance, [the Greeks] sang the words 'let no Turk remain in the Morea, nor in the whole world.' The Greeks were determined to achieve to Romaiko (that is, the Romaic restoration) in the only way they knew how: through a war of religious extermination.

In his book, That Greece Might Still be Free, William St. Clair described the ensuing carnage thus:

The Turks of Greece left few traces. They disappeared suddenly and finally in the spring of 1821 unmourned and unnoticed by the rest of the world... Upwards of twenty thousand Turkish men, women, and children were murdered by their Greek neighbours in a few weeks of slaughter.

In his monumental treatise on the Greek War of Independence, the Greek historian, Spyridon Trikoupis, described how the entire Muslim population of Tripolitsa, the capital of the Pelopponese, was annihilated by Greek forces after it had already surrendered.

He wrote: The day of the seizure of the Pelopponesian capital was a day of destruction, fire, pillage and blood. Men, women, children, all perished, some with their throats cut, some thrown into the flames which rose in the middle of the city, others crushed under the roofs and floors of houses which had been put to the torch... These scenes lasted three days. On the third, those who had fled the city before it had been captured were slaughtered in the countryside... The fury of the pillage was such that most of the houses were even stripped of all wood.

In the years following the Greek War of Independence, the deep-felt desire to achieve the Romaic restoration was raised by the Greek government to the status of a national ideology. This was the famous Megali Idea or "Great Idea," which was to figure so prominently in shaping the modern Greek nation.

Several times during the century following the Greek War of Independence, Greece attacked Turkey — in 1877, 1897, 1912, and 1919, and each time a wholesale slaughter of the Muslim population took place. For example, when Greece invaded Crete in February 1897, the 80 Muslim villages in the centre of the island were entirely destroyed, and when Aydin was occupied by the Greeks in June 1919, nearly ten thousand Muslims were killed in one day alone.

But Muslims were not the only victims of Greek nationalism. Jews were too. Under Ottoman rule, the important seaport of Salonica had become a largely Jewish city. When it was occupied by Greece in 1912, its character rapidly changed, for the Greeks' policy of forced Hellenization caused an exodus of Jews from the city. As the article "Salonika" in the Encyclopedia Judaica informs us, this anti-Semitic attitude reached its peak in the so-called "Campbell Riots," in which an entire Jewish neighbourhood was burned to the ground.

I am not saying that Greeks are a more cruel or violent people than any other. What I am saying is that their nationalism, because of its religious overtones, has promoted intolerance, aggressiveness and extreme ethnocentrism, and that it has, in areas occupied by Greece, inevitably led to what we today call "ethnic cleansing."

 Holdwater interrupts: Is not the above paragraph the perfect description as to the behavior of the Armenians? "Willful Deception" is another ingredient I would add to the mix of these Orthodox folks.


The Ottoman Empire found it difficult to deal with Greek nationalism. Its own policy toward ethnic minorities had always been one of inclusiveness, not exclusiveness. This had been institutionalised in the "Millet System," which had given all ethnic groups within the empire complete religious and cultural autonomy. When the various Christian minorities of the Balkans began to struggle for independence, the Ottoman reaction was in keeping with the empire's tradition of pluralism. It promoted an ideology which, in fact, was the very opposite of the Megali Idea — namely "Pan Ottomanism." It was a secular ideology that reaffirmed the inclusiveness, which had been the cornerstone of the Millet System. The civil liberties of all ethnic groups within the empire were guaranteed by means of two decrees, the "Rescript" of the Rose Chamber of 1839, and the "Rescript" of 1856. They were also guaranteed by the Constitution of 1876, which declared that "All subjects of the Empire are, without distinction, called 'Ottomans' whatever religion they profess" and that "All Ottomans are equal in the eyes of the law."


However, Pan-Ottomanism was not able to prevent the disintegration of the Ottoman empire, which occurred in 1918, as a result of World War I. Having realised that the Ottoman empire could not be saved, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the new national leader, decided to make a clean break with the past. Believing that language is the touchstone of nationality, he created a new nation, the Republic of Turkey, out of those parts of the empire, which were inhabited by a majority of Turkish-speaking people. Moreover, in order to avoid friction with Turkey's neighbours, he relinquished all territorial claims beyond Eastern Thrace, Anatolia and the Sanjak of Alexandretta. "Rather than increasing the number of our enemies and their coercion over us by chasing concepts, which we cannot realise," he recommended, "let us withdraw to our national and legitimate limits." Thus, his political creed, "Turkism," was a fundamentally pacific ideology.

Ataturk's reluctance to intervene in the internal affairs of foreign countries was so pronounced that he did not even contemplate intervention in the affairs of countries that contained oppressed Turkish minorities.

As he said: Although our nationalism loves all Turks... with a deep feeling of brotherhood, and although it desires with all its soul their wholesale development, yet it recognises that its political activity must end at the borders of the Turkish Republic.

Instead, he encouraged Turks living beyond the frontiers of modern Turkey to form partnership states with other nationalities.

While Ataturk was founding modern Turkey and setting limits to its national aspirations, the Greeks were still trying to fulfil the Megali Idea. Indeed, with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the expectations of Greek nationalists rose to unprecedented heights. A leading Athenian daily, Eleftheron Vema, reflecting the prevailing optimism, stated that "Any Greek who thinks Greece is not going to receive Thrace and Asia Minor must be mad." Even such a normally reasonable statesman as Premier Eleftherios Venizelos promised his countrymen a "Greece of two continents and five seas."

The Greek debacle in Anatolia in the 1920's represented the first major obstacle to the fulfilment of the Megali Idea, and the population exchange that resulted from the Treaty of Lausanne robbed the Megali Idea of its ethnic basis in Anatolia. But there remained the island of Cyprus. Because, by that time, Cyprus had become a British crown colony, it was not affected by the population-exchange agreement, and, consequently, it retained its ethnically mixed population.

Archbishop Makarios

Archbishop Makarios (from "Attila '74")

Because Cyprus was the last fragment of the former Ottoman Empire where there was an ethnic basis for the Megali Idea, all the remaining expansive energies of the upholders of that ideology were concentrated on it. Predictably enough, when the Greek Cypriots launched their guerrilla campaign against the British in the 1950's; they were strongly backed by Greece and advocated Enosis, or union with Greece. Just as predictably, their nationalism had a religious basis. In fact, they were led by a priest, Archbishop Makarios III. Therefore, they also aimed at the complete Hellenization of the island and the ouster of the Turkish Cypriots, who had lived in Cyprus since the sixteenth century and comprised a substantial part of its population.

Colonel Grivas

Grivas caused a lot of Grief

With substantial assistance from Greece and the able military leadership of George Grivas, a Greek officer of Cypriot birth, the Greek Cypriot guerrilla organisation, known as EOKA, succeeded in exerting mounting pressure upon British forces on the island, with the result that British determination to hold on to Cyprus steadily eroded.

As EOKA became ever stronger with the help of Greece, and as Turkish Cypriots increasingly fell victim to its acts of aggression, the Turkish Cypriots came to rely ever more heavily upon British protection. But when British resolve began to evaporate, they turned toward Turkey for salvation. The Turkish government was reluctant to interfere in what it considered as essentially a British problem. Moreover, it was preoccupied with the threat of Soviet expansion and was eager to make NATO (which Greece and Turkey had joined in February 1952) work smoothly, which necessitated maintaining harmonious relations with Greece. But highly provocative statements by Greek politicians, which showed beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Megali Idea was far from dead (even in 1964, Premier George Papandreou was to declare that "Cyprus must become the springboard for the dreams of Alexander the Great in the Orient"), greatly alarmed the Turkish government. As a result, the prospect of a Greek bastion of strength being established a mere 40 miles from Turkey's southern littoral was regarded by the Turks as a potential threat to their national security. This legitimised, in their eyes, at least a measure of support for the embattled Turkish Cypriots, and they began to involve themselves more and more openly in the civil war which was raging in Cyprus by providing assistance to the Turkish Cypriots in their desperate struggle against EOKA terrorists.

After a while, Makarios and his Greek supporters began to realise that a complete deadlock had been reached: the Greek Cypriots were much stronger than the Turkish Cypriots, but the Turks were much stronger than the Greeks. This problem was finally resolved by a series of compromises known as the "Zurich-London Accords" of 1959, which led to the establishment of an independent, bilingual, bicommunal republic with a Greek Cypriot president and a Turkish Cypriot vice president. A Treaty of Guarantee was then signed by Archbishop Makarios, as well as by representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece. In it, the Republic of Cyprus pledged itself to "ensure the maintenance of its independence, territorial integrity and security, as well as respect for its constitution," and not to "participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any State whatsoever." Moreover, it declared as prohibited "any activity likely to promote, directly or indirectly, either union with any other State or partition of the Island." At the same time, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom pledged themselves "to prohibit, so far as concerns them, any activity aimed at promoting, directly or indirectly, either union of Cyprus with any other State or partition of the Island". Finally, a Treaty of Alliance, which drastically limited the number of Greek and Turkish troops, which could be stationed on the island, was also signed by all parties concerned.


The Turkish Cypriots were fully satisfied with this arrangement, especially in as much as the Constitution of 1960 guaranteed their civil rights and gave them a veto power over legislation aimed at destroying the independence of Cyprus or altering their political status. The Turks were also satisfied, for the threat to their security in the Eastern Mediterranean had been eliminated and a Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot Partnership State had been established which, at least on paper, promised to bring about stability in the region. This would enable the Turks, who had no territorial ambitions in Cyprus, to direct their attention once more to domestic concerns.

But the Greek Cypriots, under the leadership of Archbishop Makarios, who had become the first president of Cyprus, regarded independence as but a stepping-stone toward union with Greece, and, from the very beginning of his mandate, Makarios sought the complete Hellenization of the island, in spite of the fact that he had signed the Zurich-London Accords and the Cypriot Constitution, which had officially renounced Enosis. As he put it: "Unless this small Turkish community forming a part of the Turkish race... is expelled, the duties of the heroes of EOKA can never be considered as terminated." Consequently, EOKA was reconstituted to bring about the destruction of the Republic of Cyprus and the annexation of the island by Greece.

For the purposes of establishing the legal framework for Enosis and neutralising all opposition to his scheme, Makarios first forced the resignation of the distinguished German jurist who was serving as president of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Then he implemented a plan, the so-called "Akritas Plan", with the aim of cowing the Turkish Cypriots into submission.

According to this plan, the Turkish Cypriots would be presented with a series of proposed amendments to the Constitution of 1960, which would deprive them of rights which were so fundamental that they were included in the unalterable "Basic Articles" of the Constitution, such as that of having veto power over governmental decisions, of having their own municipalities, and of being judged by their own peers. Should Turkish Cypriots reject these amendments, the Greek Cypriots would "show their strength to the Turks immediately and forcefully," with the result that the Turkish Cypriots would "probably be brought to their senses."

The amendments were submitted to the Turkish Cypriot leadership on November 30, 1963, but even before the Turkish, Cypriots had had time to complete their study of the projected constitutional changes, EOKA and other paramilitary organisations went into action, slaughtering Turkish Cypriots indiscriminately. At the same time, Makarios dismissed all of the Turkish Cypriot civil servants, cabinet ministers and members of parliament.

World reaction to these outrages was heartbreakingly disappointing. Even though the slaughter of Turkish Cypriot townspeople and villagers was so extensive that the U.S. under secretary of state, George W. Ball, accused Makarios of turning Cyprus into his "private abattoir," the United Nations did not issue any protests. Moreover, even though a coup was clearly in the making, the aim of which was to destroy the independence and territorial integrity of the Cypriot Republic, world governments at once recognised the illegal and savagely repressive Greek Cypriot government, and Great Britain refused to intervene though it was mandated to do so by the Treaty of Guarantee. To top it all, when Turkey then signalled its intention of honouring the treaty, the U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson, sent Prime Minister Ismet Inonu a rebuke that was so harsh that it was called in Turkey "the diplomatic equivalent of an atomic bomb."

In June 1964, the Greek government, encouraged by the world's indifference to Turkish Cypriot suffering, dispatched 20,000 troops to beef up Makarios's forces, which included the Greek-officered National Guard, which had been created in violation of the Treaty of Alliance. Although Makarios warned the Turkish government that "should Turkey intervene to save Turkish Cypriots, it would find no Turkish Cypriots to save," the Greek invasion finally provoked a Turkish military response, namely the strafing of some of Makarios's troops by Turkish military aircraft. This action, though extremely modest in scale, at last convinced Makarios that further acts of violence would be counterproductive. As a result, his campaign of terror against the Turkish Cypriot community gradually subsided.

But Makarios had not given up on his plan to get rid of the Turkish Cypriot community. He had merely changed tactics. During the period immediately following the massacres of 1963 and 1964, the Greek Cypriot leaders reaffirmed their goal of achieving Enosis, and they gradually dismantled every aspect of the Cypriot partnership state through a series of acts that were totally unconstitutional. At the same time, in the hope of encouraging the Turkish Cypriots to leave Cyprus, Makarios herded all of them into small, overcrowded enclaves which, in their totality, covered only 3 per cent of the territory of Cyprus and which were surrounded by fortifications. Each of these enclaves was allowed to import only enough food for bare subsistence, and was denied all government services, except for the issuance of exit visas - which once more demonstrates that Clerides's assertion that the Greek Cypriot preoccupation was "that Cyprus should be a Greek Cypriot state, with a protected Turkish Cypriot minority" is completely unfounded.


In 1967, there was another wave of attacks against Turkish Cypriot villages. Once more, Turkey threatened punitive action, and the raids ceased. In November of that year an agreement was worked out between Greece and Turkey that provided for the withdrawal from Cyprus within 45 days of all Greek troops in excess of those permitted by the Treaty of Alliance, the dissolution of the illegal National Guard, and compensation by the Greek Cypriot government to the victims of Greek Cypriot savagery. Needless to say, however, Makarios never bothered to comply with the agreement.

Also in 1967, the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives (which consisted only of the Greek Cypriot members of the former House and continued to legislate illegally) passed the following resolution:

Interpreting the age-long aspirations of the Greeks of Cyprus, the House declares that, despite any adverse circumstances, it will not suspend the struggle conducted with the support of all Greeks, until this struggle succeeds in uniting the whole and undivided Cyprus with the Motherland, without any intermediate stages.

Nikos Sampson

Nikos Sampson. You know how Peter
Parker would take shots of Spider-Man
because he was Spider-Man? Sampson
would also be the first reporter at a
terrorist killing... because he was the
terrorist doing the killing!

In late 1973, General Dimitrios Ioannides who, in 1963, together with a Greek Cypriot journalist and well-known political assassin by the name of Nikos Sampson, had presented Makarios with a plan for the liquidation of the entire Turkish Cypriot community, became dictator of Greece. Needing an immediate triumph to compensate for the Greek junta's declining popularity, he decided to overthrow Makarios, whom he considered much too timid in the pursuit of Enosis, and to replace him with a more militant leader.

The Greek strongman was obviously encouraged by the reluctance of Turkey to resort to force in the crises of 1964 and 1967, and by its extremely limited military response to even the most blatant provocation in 1964. He calculated that the Turkish government would make no serious effort to prevent a swiftly and efficiently executed Enosist coup in Cyprus backed up by the full might of the Greek army. Once more, Greek troops were smuggled into Cyprus, and, in July 1974, these troops, along with the Greek-officered and illegal National Guard, carried out the planned coup. Makarios was put to flight and replaced by the notorious Nikos Sampson. A massacre of the adherents of Makarios, as well as of the Turkish Cypriot population, began at once.

The Turkish government appealed, but in vain, to the governments of the United States and Great Britain to put an end to the bloodshed and to prevent Greece from taking over Cyprus. Finally, the Turkish government decided to act on its own. The Turkish intervention, which resulted, was legal according to the Treaty of Guarantee of 1960. Its legality was even upheld by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in a resolution adopted on July 29, 1974, namely Resolution 532 (1974). In any case, the Turks had clearly been provoked beyond endurance. As Evangelos Yannopoulos, the Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs, put it in an article which was published in 1988: "How was it possible to topple Makarios, start slaughtering the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and impose a madman like Sampson to head the Cyprus Government and yet expect no reaction from Turkey?"

The Turkish intervention caused the collapse of the military dictatorship in Greece and of the brutal Sampson regime in Cyprus. It prevented the occupation of Cyprus by Greece, thus keeping alive the possibility of establishing a new partnership state on the island. Finally, it ended intercommunal strife and ushered in a period of peace, which has lasted to this day.

As Turkish troops landed in northern Cyprus, most of the Turkish Cypriots from the south of the island moved north, and most of the Greek Cypriots from the north of the island moved south. In August 1975, Rauf Denktas and Glafkos Clerides, negotiating on behalf of their respective communities, signed a formal agreement, which recognised the population exchanges that had taken place and sanctioned further such exchanges.

But all these dramatic events had little impact on Turkey's policy toward Cyprus. The Turkish government remained steadfastly faithful to Ataturk's non-expansive ideology of Turkism and claimed not a square inch of Cypriot territory. Instead, it promoted intercommunal negotiations for the purpose of establishing in Cyprus a federation in which the rights of both communities would be equally protected.


In early 1977, a series of intercommunal talks was launched under the auspices of the United Nations, and with the enthusiastic backing of the Turkish government. These talks made what optimists felt was a promising start, but, with Makarios's sudden death in August of that year, a complete stalemate became inevitable. His successor as Greek Cypriot president, Foreign Minister Spyros Kyprianou, was a relentless hard-liner who referred to the period of Greek Cypriot hegemony in Cyprus, when the entire Turkish Cypriot population was squeezed into tiny, overcrowded enclaves and thousands of Turkish Cypriots were forced to emigrate to Turkey and Great Britain in order to survive, as the "happiest of times." By means of a trade embargo upon the Turkish Cypriot economy, and, by means of what he called "aggressive diplomacy," he put pressure on foreign governments to observe the embargo and to try to convince the Turkish government to withdraw its troops from Northern Cyprus. He also attempted to elicit from the United Nations a resolution condemning Turkey for its actions in Cyprus. At the same time, he showed little interest in continuing the intercommunal talks, arguing that he was not interested in negotiating with mere "rebels." In fact, he was so intransigent that his own foreign minister, Nikos Rolandis, called him the "enemy of Cyprus."

Although the embargo caused considerable economic distress in the Turkish Cypriot community, the Turkish Cypriots learned to become increasingly self-sufficient, and Turkish support for the Turkish Cypriots did not flag. Furthermore, the United Nations was far from wholehearted in its endorsement of Kyprianou's position. It never actually condemned the Turkish intervention of 1974 and never called it an "invasion." Instead, it emphasised that any solution to the Cyprus problem can only be based upon the equality of the two communities in Cyprus.

Indeed, the only concrete result of Kyprianou's policies was to convince the Turkish Cypriots to form their own independent state. They had been made stateless by the Greek Cypriots in 1963, and they had been living in their own separate homelands since they had been confined to their own enclaves shortly thereafter. By November 1983, they had been forced to govern themselves for already twenty years, and they felt that the only way that they could jolt Kyprianou into negotiating with them on a realistic basis - that is as equal partners in founding a new state - was to declare their own independence. Thus, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus came into being.

The Greek Cypriots, gradually lost faith in Kyprianou's ability to bring about a satisfactory solution to the Cyprus problem and, in February 1988, he was defeated for re-election. In his campaign, his successor, a businessman named George Vassiliou had spoken of the necessity of launching a "peace offensive" and of "building bridges of trust with the Turkish Cypriots." But, once in office, he quickly reassured the electorate that he had no intention of changing the national goals of Enosis and the complete Hellenization of the island. He did not propose repealing the Greek Cypriot House of Representative's Enosist resolution of 1967, and he described Cyprus as "a bastion of Greece." His only aim, it seems, was to resume the intercommunal talks so as to convince the Turkish Cypriots that they were in such dire straits because of the embargo that it would be in their interest to become once more an unprotected minority in a Greek Cypriot - dominated state, which was a vain hope. As could be expected, in the negotiations, which ensued, the Turkish Cypriots insisted that their survival in a future Cypriot federation depended upon its being a bizonal partnership state with Turkey remaining as a guarantor state. However, this was obviously unacceptable to Vassiliou, for such a solution would make Enosis and the complete Hellenization of the island an impossibility. Therefore, the intercommunal talks petered out inconclusively.

When Vassiliou discussed his proposals in a speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on January 31, 1990, three members of the British House of Commons who were present, Keith Speed, Andrew Faulds and Michael Knowles, wrote a report that contained the following apt remarks: "When

Mr. Vassiliou was elected, we hoped that he would bring a new realism to the affairs of Cyprus, but we have been disappointed. This speech shows that, like his predecessors, he does not understand that the behaviour of the Greek Cypriots toward the Turkish Cypriots has made it impossible to go forward on the basis of trust and confidence.

Mr. Vassiliou's insistence that the Turkish troops must leave demonstrates that he is not willing to understand the fundamental concerns of the Turkish Cypriots. He expects them to be satisfied with his assurances, with written safeguards, and with international guarantees, but is well aware that the I960 Constitution guaranteed their rights and was ignored, that U.N. troops were meant to protect them but failed, that international guarantees Likewise failed, and that the only factor which saved them at the eleventh hour was the Turkish army. "


In any case, Vassiliou lost his credibility as a peacemaker that year when he applied for full Greek Cypriot membership in the European Union, for it was in direct violation of the Treaty of Guarantee, the Zurich-London Accords and the Constitution of 1960.

In February 1993, Vassiliou was, in turn, voted out of office by the Greek Cypriot electorate. He was succeeded by the veteran politician Glafkos Clerides. Like Vassiliou, Clerides has thus far not proposed repeal of the Enosist resolution of 1967, and he has echoed his predecessor's nationalist sentiments by describing Cyprus as "a small part of the Greek nation." Moreover, under his leadership, the Greek Cypriot government has once more opted for a confrontational policy toward the Turkish Cypriots. Encouraged by the indifference shown by the leaders of the European Union regarding the flaunting by the Greek Cypriot government of an international treaty in unilaterally applying for full membership in that body, Clerides has made the application the main thrust of his foreign policy.

For the Greek Cypriot government, as well as for the Greek government, Greek Cypriot membership in the European Union would be an enormous asset. It would automatically double Greek membership in the Council of Ministers and in the European Commission, and it would increase Greek membership in the European Parliament. Thus, Greek influence in the European Union would be substantially enhanced, and, because in the European Union there is no counterbalancing Turkish influence (as there is at the United Nations and in N.A.T.O.), Greece's interpretation of events in the Eastern Mediterranean would be unchallenged. This danger was duly noted in the "Daily Brief," published in the Oxford Analytica on December 22, 1994:

If Greek controlled Cyprus became a member, there would be two Greek votes and two potential Greek vetoes in the E. U. These votes might well be deployed against the wishes of the other members of the E.U. not only vis-à-vis Turkey, but also in Balkan affairs and other matters.

The most alarming aspect of this situation is that, because all the more fanatical exponents of Greek nationalism in both Greece and the Greek Cypriot state have come to realise that little more can be expected in the way of support from the United Nations and N.A.T.O., they have put all their hopes in the European Union. Membership in the European Union would, in fact, constitute their last chance to exert international pressure upon the Turks and the Turkish Cypriots to bend to their will, and their last opportunity to intimidate them in a show of force. Therefore, there is an edge of desperation to their quest for membership which might well lead to another catastrophic miscalculation, like the 1974 coup, for they expect much more from the European Union than that body is likely to deliver in a showdown with Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

There are already ominous signs in Cyprus of an impending conflict. Under Greek prodding, the Greek Cypriots have become engaged in a steadily escalating series of border violations and acts of provocation directed against the Turkish Cypriot State. These reached a new level of virulence in August and September 1996, resulting in casualties on both sides. For instance, on September 8, I996, a number of Greek Cypriot armed men penetrated into Turkish Cypriot territory in the vicinity of Guvercinlik and shot two Turkish Cypriot border guards, one fatally.

Meanwhile, the military integration of Southern Cyprus with Greece by means of the so-called "Joint Defence Doctrine" has been accelerated. A new Greek Air Force base is being constructed in Paphos, as well as a navy base, and the Greek Cypriot armed forces are being greatly strengthened. The Greek Cypriot administration spends approximately two million dollars per day on armaments, and with the introduction of the new five-year rearmament program this year (1997), this sum will increase. Already, the Greek Cypriots spend a higher percentage of their gross domestic product on defence than most other countries, including the United States.

The scale of arms purchasing by the Greek Cypriot administration has reached truly massive proportions. A large number of French-made anti-ship missiles and Italian-made Aspida anti- aircraft missiles, as well as a variety of anti-tank missiles, have been purchased. Initially, the Greek Cypriots had 52 AMX-30 B-2 French--made tanks. These were augmented by another 52 AMX-30 B-2's sent by Greece. 41 Russian T-80 tanks and numerous Russian BMP-3 armoured personnel carriers have also been purchased.

Finally, on January 4, 1997, the Greek Cypriot administration concluded a new multi-million dollar deal with the Russian Federation for the acquisition of sophisticated S-300 long-range missiles. As Nicholas Burns, the U.S. State Department spokesman, commented: "The Greek Cypriot decision introduces a new and destabilising element in this island and in the region... This new missile system threatens to take the arms build-up on Cyprus to a new and disturbing qualitative level."

An Insightful letter in response to the usual one-sided press reportage.

The Editor
The Independent

18. August 2006

Dear Sir,

I have read both articles on Cyprus by your European Editor Stephen Castle, and as a Turkish Cypriot who lost everything in Cyprus and as one who was literally forced out of Cyprus by Greek nationalist policies, wish to comment:

It hurts me to read again and again that the so-called Cyprus conflict apparently began in 1974. Britain knows best that the Cyprus conflict goes way back to 1955, when Archbishop Makarios together with General Grivas of Greece set up the terror organisation called EOKA with the clearly defined aim of ENOSIS — union with Greece. True that during the first EOKA- War, the brunt of Greek terror was taken by the British armed forces, but, what about the 11 years (1963-1974) of terror and ethnic cleansing suffered by the Turkish Cypriots? Why did you not even mention this?

Furthermore, it is a well known fact that South Cyprus alone should not have been made an EU-member. Existing legal agreements (London-Zurich 1960) forbid that. Under Greek threats, and possibly in line with main stream EU policy, legalities and international agreements were pushed aside! The Cyprus conflict in its present form suits many European countries which see Cyprus as an estoppel for Turkey's membership.

Yes, the Greeks and the EU have been very clever, but the question is, did this cleverness bring them nearer to a solution, or not? The answer is definitely not. And, as Iraq and Lebanon show, military options are still very real and open. When one side is so clever and believes to have all the political cards on his side, then he must be ready to fight and die for it. Is the EU ready to fight for their Greek cousins? Possibly not!!

No, as Turkish Cypriots we do not want the UN to take over anything in North Cyprus, thank you very much. We also don't care much what eventually the EU is going to tell Turkey. If we sacrificed all our rights in Cyprus, it would never be enough to pay for Turkey's dreamed membership. Unfortunately for some, but thank God for others.

Yours sincerely,

Kufi Seydali, M.Sc. DIC.
Turkish Cypriot Association in Europe

(The main article, "UN may take over ports to solve Cypriot rift," by Stephen Castle, appeared in the 16 August 2006 issue; "The Independent," home of Robert Fisk, is not generally known for its Turk-friendliness.)

Cyprus: Setting the Record Straight

The Road to Bellapais
By Pierre Oberling
Columbia University Press
$14.95, 258 pp.

Few subjects have been debated on Capitol Hill with more exuberant ignorance than Cyprus; but here is a book which dispassionately sets the passionate record straight.

It is sobering to be reminded that when the Muslim Turks freed Christian Athens from Rome, and the Cypriots from the Crusaders, they were welcomed as liberators. Professor Oberling contrasts the haven offered by the Ottoman Empire — until its last, decadent century — to Christians and Jews, notably during the Inquisition, and the autonomous millet government which such communities enjoyed, to the Greek slaughter of Muslims and Jews all over Greece and the Mediterranean islands.

In Cyprus, the Greek campaign for uniting the former Ottoman island (seized as war reparations by Britain after World War I) to Greece is known as enosis. The Turks, victims of 10 wars of aggression in the 19th century, had joined the Central Powers in the hope of recovering some territory from Russia. A harsh peace in 1920 had given nearly all Turkey’s islands, and part of Anatolia, to the Greeks, with Lloyd George abetting Premier Venizelos’ claims. Then, Kemal Atatürk’s success in liberating lzmir and its hinterland ended the careers of Venizelos and the British prime minister.

This, Oberling reasons, hardened the already anti-Muslim attitude of British colonial administrators toward the Turks, despite Turkish passivity and the independentist riots by Greek Cypriot nationalists. After World War II, these riots grew into war under a Greek general, Grivas, and a portly divine, Archbishop Makarios, who sought to rid the island of both the British and Turks and proclaim enosis.

Oherling recounts grim stories of massacres, with appalling cruelty being committed especially against women, children, old people, and the patients and staffs of hospitals.

A Hunter College professor who has studied and taught in Greece, and speaks the language, he recounts in chilling detail the EOKA (Greek guerrilla movement) pogrom against the Turks in 1963, in which one of the theoretically illegal militias was led by Makarios’ minister of the interior and another by the Ethnarch’s personal physician.

"...the 1963-64 events, which caused 25,000 Turks to leave their homes..."

The author tells of Makarios’ eternal procrastinations and prevarications, his failure to implement the independence constitution, the appointment of EOKA assassins to the cabinet, Greece’s dispatch of 20,000 clandestine troops to destabilize the island, and the changing role of Moscow, as the Kremlin sought to exploit each vicissitude — sometimes courting Makarios, sometimes Ankara. Makarios had to humor Akel, the Greek-Cypriot Communist party, because it was the largest in the legislature, and he toyed with the Soviet Union when it suited him.

Under the 1960 Zurich Treaty of Guarantee, Britain, Greece and Turkey had agreed to protect the island’s independence. In 1963, however, Turkey was persuaded by President Johnson not to intervene during the pogrom, since the issue divided two NATO allies. A plan devised by U.S. Gen. Lyman L. Lernnitzer, the NATO commander, and agreed to by Turkey, Greece, Britain and the Turkish-Cypriot community, for the dispatch of a 10,000-man NATO force, including 2,000 Americans, to keep the peace, was vetoed by Makarios. Under Secretary George Ball tried to change the prelate’s mind, and left accusing him of trying to make the island “his private abattoir.”

The outcome was the stationing of a UN force, which has now been there for 19 years. Its best moment came early, when Makarios threatened on radio to “order the massacre of the entire Turkish population”; the UN then threatened to withdraw and leave Cyprus open for a Turkish invasion. Makarios backed down.

Oberling dates the present geographical partition of the island from the 1963-64 events, which caused 25,000 Turks to leave their homes in mixed areas for UN-protected enclaves, and the Political partition from Makarios’ decision to fire all Turkish officials in the government and to cease to register Turkish births as part of the population. He notes: “The 1963-64 crisis was an unusual phenomenon: it was not a revolution by a downtrodden majority against an arrogant, oppressive minority, but a revolution by an arrogant, oppressive majority against a downtrodden minority.”

There was a brief hope of a Cypriot, rather than a Greek, solution with the advent of the Athens junta. This divided Greece (and Grivas) from the left wing archbishop, who even founded a newspaper critical of the “colonels.” After Grivas’ death in 1974, Makarios summoned the courage to ban EOKA-B, Grivas’ underground army, which continued to kill Turks and UN soldiers. From Athens, the junta leader, Gen. Dimitrios loannides, ordered the Cypriot National Guard to seize power and put Makarios to death. The guard seized the capital and major towns and called for enosis.

The rest is more familiar history. The final pogrom never took place. Turkey, unable to persuade Britain to exercise its treaty duties, intervened in Cyprus alone, under Article IV of the Zurich pact. This led to the overthrow of the Athens junta and the restoration of democracy in Greece, which in turn caused the fall of “President” Nikos Sampson of EOKA-B, who had been put in power by the National Guard, and eventually to the return of the Greek-Cypriot national hero, Makarios, who had fled the country.

The Turkish-Cypriot leader, Raul Denktash, and the new conservative president in Nicosia, Glafcos Clerides, met and decided on a federal form of government. There was an exchange of populations, with all Turks leaving the South for the area occupied by Turkish forces, and most Greeks leaving the North; over a thousand, however, remained —and remain — voluntarily under Turkish rule. In 1977, Makarios, back in power, signed an agreement with Denktash on a “bi-zonal federal” government; but after his death there was no successor in Nicosia with enough authority to implement it.

The ironic benefits which Turkish intervention in Cyprus had conferred on Athens and Nicosia were swiftly forgotten. A humiliated Greece had even withdrawn from NATO—even though Congress, misdirected by an awesomely mendacious Greek lobby, voted a partial arms embargo on Turkey which lasted four years. Turkey retaliated by taking over US bases and closing NSA monitoring facilities.

Oberling proposes no solution, for in a sense the problem is solved. President Kyprianou of Greek Cyprus flies the Greek, not the Cypriot, flag on his palace and limousine, as Makarios did, and President Denktas of Kibris — Turkish Cyprus — flies the Turkish standard and receives visitors under a portrait of Atatürk.

Denktas has made gestures to solve the impasse in negotiations. Since the Turks—18 percent of the population, but less urbanized then the Greeks— formerly occupied rocky enclaves totaling 34 percent of the island, and now have a contiguous 36 percent, he has offered to give up the UN zone— nearly 6 percent of the territory—and also give back the Greek sector of the resort city of Magosa (formerly Famagusta). To no avail.

Turkey, and officially, Greece, favor a federal solution. So does Britain, fearful of offending Nicosia because of its sovereign air bases in the South. So does the US, which uses the Akrotiri base for U-2 flights over the Middle East. But two de facto independent republics have now co-existed for a decade, and it is hard to believe they will not become de jure one day.

Sooner or later, the perennial crisis of this passionately divided island will wind its way back to Capitol Hill. It is perhaps a utopian hope that, before then, every member of Congress will have read Dr. Oberling’s relatively short book, and found out what Cyprus is all about.

Russell Warren Howe is a national staff writer for the Washington Times. (The above was reprinted in ATA-USA, Jan. 1983, p. 33.)


See also:

TAT's Cyprus page 

A nice wrap-up on the Cyprus story by Prof. Mahmut Ozan 


Michael Cacoyannis's propagandistic stripes: Attila '74


Further: North Cyprus President Denktas' Last Interview in Office

"West" Accounts


Armenian Views
Geno. Scholars


Turks in Movies
Turks in TV


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