Written evidence submitted by Michael
It is necessary to know what happened in Cyprus
between the foundation of the Republic in 1960 and the Turkish
intervention in 1974, not for historical interest but in order
to determine whether the political status of the Greek Cypriot
Administration today, and its acceptance by the world is justified.
If the Turkish Cypriots had simply withdrawn from the institutions
of the Republic in 1964 with no reasonable excuse, and if the
Turkish army had invaded in 1974 without any legal right or humanitarian
justification, then perhaps the world would be right to treat
the Greek Cypriot Administration as if it were the Government
of Cyprus. The truth of the matter is however very different.
This is an important question, because the ability
of the Greek Cypriot Administration to enforce an embargo on Turkish
Cypriot trade, sport, and communications derives from their acceptance
by other countries and institutions as if they were the lawful
government of all Cyprus.
The former British Prime Minister, Sir Alec
Douglas-Home said in his memoirs
he had been convinced that if the Greek Cypriots could not treat
the Turkish Cypriots as human beings they were inviting the invasion
and partition of the island.
The American Under-Secretary of State, George
Ball, said in his own memoirs,
that the central interest of the Greek Cypriot leader, Makarios,
"was to block off Turkish intervention so that he and his
Greek Cypriots could go on happily massacring Turkish Cypriots.
Obviously we would never permit that." The fact is however
that neither the US, the UK, the UN, nor anyone, other than Turkey
ever took effective action to prevent it.
The most remarkable feature of the Cyprus question
is the extent to which the Greek Cypriots have been able to repudiate
solemn international agreements
and violate the human rights of the Turkish Cypriots on a massive
scale and yet by a quite astonishing feat of public relations,
have secured for themselves acceptance as the government of all
Cyprus and have persuaded the world that they, and not the Turkish
Cypriots, are the injured party. The consequence of this is that
they have been able to extract one-sided resolutions from the
United Nations and other international organisations, and have
been able to secure court judgments which have been immensely
damaging to the Turkish Cypriots and have placed the Turkish Cypriots
under a crippling embargo on their international trade and communications.
For more than 40 years the Turkish Cypriots
and their government have been faced with one of the hardest tasks
in the whole range of international affairshow to get the
world to change its mind after it has got hold of the wrong end
of the stick and clung to it year after year.
The Greek Cypriots claim that the Cyprus problem
was caused by the landing of Turkish troops in 1974 and that if
only they would withdraw, the problem would be solved. This is
a serious misconception, for the landing of Turkish troops was
the consequence, not the cause, of the problem. Moreover, there
were in fact two military actions in 1974; the first was by Greece
and the Greek Cypriots, which caused the second by Turkey.
In the view of Greek Cypriot journalist, Aleccos
the Greek Cypriot political parties DIKO and EDEK "are acting
as if the Cyprus problem began and ended in 1974. They refrain
from talking about the previous coups. The first coup was not
in 1974, but only a few years after we had attained our independence
(in 1960). Had it not been for the first coup there would not
have been the 1974 coup."
Another Greek Cypriot journalist, Stavros Angelides,
wrote in Fileleftheros on 16 September 1990 "With the passage
of time we the Greek Cypriots forget, or wilfully disregard, the
events which led to the present situation in Cyprus. We forget
our faults and we ask all the more emphatically everybody else
to deliver to us justice as we understand it. We talk in generalities
and in vague terms about UN Resolutions, and actually mean those
which favour us. The others, such as Resolution 649 are not fairwe
do not want themlet them go to hell."
The independence negotiations in Zurich and
London were long and difficult, but in 1960 it was agreed by way
of compromise between all five participants; Britain, Greece,
Turkey, the Turkish Cypriots, and the Greek Cypriots; that the
new Republic of Cyprus would be a bi-communal Republic with a
single territory but a unique Constitution which embodied an agreed
political partnership between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and
which prohibited the political or economic union of Cyprus with
any other State.
The bi-communal structure was fundamental to
the 1960 accords, on the basis of which the Republic of Cyprus
achieved independence, and recognition as a sovereign state from
the international community. Accordingly, from its very inception
the Republic of Cyprus was never a unitary state in which there
is only one electorate with a majority and minority. The two peoples
of Cyprus were political equals and each existed as a political
entity, just as both large and small states exist within the structure
of the European Union. They did not however have the same constitutional
rights because the agreements took into account the fact that
there were more Greek Cypriots than Turkish Cypriots.
UN Secretary-General Annan acknowledged in his
plan for a Cyprus settlement
that "the relationship between the Turkish Cypriots and the
Greek Cypriots is not one of majority and minority but of political
equality where neither side may claim authority or jurisdiction
over the other."
The Turkish Cypriot people, knowing that they
could not enforce the agreement themselves, would never have agreed
to join the 1960 Republic if the Greek Cypriots had not also accepted
a Treaty of Guarantee which gave Turkey a legal right to intervene,
with troops if necessary. The parties to the Treaty were the United
Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, and the Republic of Cyprus itself. The
Turkish Cypriots had seen what happened to the Turkish people
of Crete under Greek hegemony, and knew that there would be no
future for them in Cyprus without a Turkish military guarantee.
Independence was formally granted on 16 August
At the conclusion of the negotiations the Greek
Cypriot leader, Archbishop Makarios, said "Sending cordial
good wishes to all the Greeks and Turks of Cyprus, I greet with
joy the Agreement reached and proclaim with confidence that this
day will be the beginning of a new period of progress and prosperity
for our country". However, it soon became clear that the
Greek Cypriots did not intend to abide by the Constitution, and
that their entry into that solemn legal obligation with the Turkish
Cypriots in 1960 had been a deception. On 28 July 1960 President
Makarios said "the agreements do not form the goalthey
are the present and not the future. The Greek Cypriot people will
continue their national cause and shape their future in accordance
with THEIR will.
In a speech on 4 September 1962, at Panayia,
Makarios said "Until this Turkish community forming part
of the Turkish race which has been the terrible enemy of Hellenism
is expelled, the duty of the heroes of EOKA
can never be considered as terminated." It would be difficult
to imagine a more vindictive, racist, policy than this. It is
also a Greek expansionist policythe very charge which the
Greek Cypriots laid against Turkey when Turkey intervened twelve
years later to put an end to it.
quotes Adlai Stevenson as saying that Makarios, was "a wicked,
unreliable conniver, who concealed his venality under the sanctimonious
vestments of a religious leader" and comments that "In
the years I had known Adlai I had never heard him speak of anyone
with such vitriol."
Article 173 of the Cyprus Constitution provided
for separate municipalities for Turkish Cypriots in the five main
towns. The Greek Cypriots refused to obey this mandatory provision
and in order to encourage them to do so the Turkish Cypriots said
they would not vote for some of the Government's taxation proposals.
The Greek Cypriots remained intransigent, so the Turkish Cypriots
took the matter to the Supreme Constitutional Court of Cyprus.
The court comprised one Greek Cypriot judge, one Turkish Cypriot
judge, and a neutral President.
In February 1963 Archbishop Makarios declared
on behalf of the Greek Cypriots that if the Court ruled against
them they would ignore it
On 25 April 1963 the Court did rule against them
and they did ignore it. The President of the Court (a German citizen)
resigned and the rule of law in Cyprus collapsed.
In November 1963 the Greek Cypriots went further,
and demanded the abolition of eight of the basic articles which
had been included in the 1960 Agreement for the protection of
the Turkish Cypriots. The aim was to reduce the Turkish Cypriot
people to the status of a mere minority, wholly subject to the
control of the Greek Cypriots, pending their ultimate expulsion
from the island. The Greek Cypriots had prepared a written plan
for this purpose, called the Akritas Plan.
Glafcos Clerides, later the Greek Cypriot President,
wrote his memoirs, entitled "CyprusMy Deposition"
in four volumes, published by Alithia publishing company, Nicosia,
1989-91. In these memoirs he admits that there was no need for
constitutional amendments. According to him, "Makarios, at
the head of the bi-communal state of Cyprus, had decided to proceed,
stage by stage, to the unilateral abrogation of the rights granted
to the Turkish community by the Zurich and London Agreements and
to reduce its political status to a minority, using prematurely,
the excuse of the unworkability of certain provisions of the constitution."
He goes on to say that "An honest evaluation
of the situation during the period 1960-63, divorced from propaganda
would lead to the conclusion that there was no need to press for
constitutional amendments". Nevertheless according to Clerides,
Makarios "refused to accept practical solutions failing short
of constitutional amendments"
Clerides admits that "the delicate period
of 1960-63, when both communities were questioning the sincerity
of the other over their real commitment to independence, was not
the proper time to request constitutional amendments on the grounds
that the constitution was unworkable, when in fact unworkability
could not be established".
Greek Cypriots claim that constitutional amendments
were inevitable because the Turkish Cypriots abused their veto
power, but according to Clerides: "The veto powers were not
used either by the President or the Vice President on any law
or decision of the House of Representatives . . .
Furthermore, he says "there was no difficulty
in promulgating the decisions of the Council of Ministers and
the laws of the House of Representatives."
Clerides continued: "If the Turkish Cypriots
resist "unilateral amendments of the Constitution" where
their rights would be abrogated, the forces of the Minister of
Interior will use force to "put down the uprising".
Lt General George Karayiannis (the mainland Greek Army Officer
then in command of the Cyprus Army) told Ethnikos Kiryx, an Athens
Daily, on 13 June 1965 that "President Makarios decided (a)
to proceed to organise the Greek Cypriots for battle and arm them,
and (b) to proceed with the revision of the Constitution, including
the cancellation of the [Turkish Cypriot] Vice-President's Veto."
"When the Turkish Cypriots objected to
the amendment of the constitution Makarios put his plan into effect,
and the Greek Cypriot attack began in December 1963"(Lt
The General is referring to the "Akritas" plan, which
was the blueprint for the annihilation of the Turkish Cypriots
and the annexation of the island to Greece.
At Christmas 1963 the Greek Cypriot militia
attacked Turkish Cypriot communities across the island, and very
many men, women, and children were killed. 270 of their mosques,
shrines and other places of worship were desecrated.
On 28 December 1963 the Daily Express carried
the following report from Cyprus: "We went tonight into the
sealed-off Turkish Cypriot Quarter of Nicosia in which 200 to
300 people had been slaughtered in the last five days. We were
the first Western reporters there and we have seen sights too
frightful to be described in print. Horror so extreme that the
people seemed stunned beyond tears."
On 31 December 1963 The Guardian reported:
"It is nonsense to claim, as the Greek Cypriots do, that
all casualties were caused by fighting between armed men of both
sides. On Christmas Eve many Turkish Cypriot people were brutally
attacked and murdered in their suburban homes, including the wife
and children of a doctorallegedly by a group of forty men,
many in army boots and greatcoats." Although the Turkish
Cypriots fought back as best they could, and killed some militia,
there were no massacres of Greek Cypriot civilians.
On 1 January 1964 the Daily Herald reported:
"When I came across the Turkish Cypriot homes they were an
appalling sight. Apart from the walls they just did not exist.
I doubt if a napalm attack could have created more devastation.
Under roofs which had caved in I found a twisted mass of bed springs,
children's cots, and grey ashes of what had once been tables,
chairs and wardrobes. In the neighbouring village of Ayios Vassilios
I counted 16 wrecked and burned out homes. They were all Turkish
Cypriot. In neither village did I find a scrap of damage to any
Greek Cypriot house."
On 2 January 1964 the Daily Telegraph wrote
"The Greek Cypriot community should not assume that the British
military presence can or should secure them against Turkish intervention
if they persecute the Turkish Cypriots. We must not be a shelter
for double-crossers." Britain did not however make any serious
attempt to stop the Greek Cypriots.
On 12 January 1964 the British High Commission
in Nicosia wrote to London
"The Greek (Cypriot) police are led by extremists who provoked
the fighting and deliberately engaged in atrocities. They have
recruited into their ranks as "special constables" gun-happy
young thugs. They threaten to try and punish any Turkish Cypriot
police who wish to return to the Cyprus Government. . . . . .
. . Makarios assured us there will be no attack. His assurance
is as worthless as previous assurances have proved."
The British Government noted
that George Ball "thought that Makarios' aim was to get the
Cyprus problem into the UN orbit where the slogan of self-determination,
supported by the communist bloc and the neutralists, could exert
pressure towards the establishment of an independent unitary state,
where he could do what he liked with the Turkish Cypriots."
On 14 January 1964 the Daily Telegraph reported
that the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Ayios Vassilios had been
massacred on 26 December 1963, and reported their exhumation from
a mass grave in the presence of the Red Cross. A further massacre
of Turkish Cypriots, at Limassol, was reported by The Observer
on 16 February 1964, and there were many more. On 17 February
1964 the Washington Post reported that "Greek Cypriot fanatics
appear bent on a policy of genocide." The Greek Cypriot Minister
of the Interior admitted
that he had controlled the attack in Limassol himself.
British troops in Cyprus at the time did what
they could to protect the Turkish Cypriots, and their efforts
are remembered to this day, but the scale and ferocity of the
Greek Cypriot attacks, and lack of political will in London, made
their task impossible. On 6 February 1964 a British patrol found
armed Greek Cypriot police attacking the Turkish Cypriots of Ayios
Sozomenos, but they were unable to stop the attack.
On 13 February 1964 the Greeks and Greek Cypriots
attacked the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Limassol with tanks, killing
16 and injuring 35. On 15 February 1964 The Daily Telegraph
reported: "It is a real military operation which the
Greek Cypriots launched against the six thousand inhabitants of
the Turkish Cypriot Quarter yesterday morning. A spokesman for
the Greek Cypriot Government has recognised this officially. It
is hard to conceive how Greek and Turkish Cypriots may seriously
contemplate working together after all that has happened."
On 10 September 1964 the UN Secretary-General
reported (UN doc. S/5950):
"UNFICYP carried out a detailed survey
of all damage to properties throughout the island during the disturbances,
. . . . . . . . . it shows that in 109 villages, most of them
Turkish-Cypriot or mixed villages, 527 houses have been destroyed
while 2,000 others have suffered damage from looting. In Ktima
38 houses and shops have been destroyed totally and 122 partially.
In the Orphomita suburb of Nicosia, 50 houses have been totally
destroyed while a further 240 have been partially destroyed there
and in adjacent suburbs."
The UK House of Commons Select Committee on
Foreign Affairs reviewed the Cyprus question in 1987
and reported unanimously that, "Although the Cyprus Government
now claims to have been seeking to "operate the 1960 Constitution
modified to the extent dictated by the necessities of the situation"
this claim ignores the fact that both before and after the events
of December 1963 the Makarios Government continued to advocate
the cause of ENOSIS [annexation to Greece] and actively pursued
the amendment of the Constitution and the related treaties to
facilitate this ultimate objective".
The Committee continued : "Moreover in
June 1967 the Greek Cypriot legislature unanimously passed a resolution
in favour of ENOSIS, in blatant contravention of the 1960 Treaties
Professor Ernst Forsthoff, the neutral President
of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Cyprus until 1963 told
Die Welt on 27 December 1963 "Makarios bears on his shoulders
the sole responsibility of the recent tragic events. His aim is
to deprive the Turkish community of their rights." In an
interview with UPI press agency on 30 December 1963 he said: "All
this happened because Makarios wanted to remove all constitutional
rights from the Turkish Cypriots."
George Ball also recalls
that during his visit to Cyprus in the Spring of 1964, Sir Cyril
Pickard, the British Under-secretary of State for Commonwealth
Relations, "denounced the Archbishop in devastating language
for the outrages inflicted on the Turkish Cypriots." Ball
himself told the Greek Cypriot leader that "if he persisted
in his cruel and reckless conduct Turkey would inevitably invade,
and neither the US nor any other western power would raise a finger
to stop them."
He further recalls
that "a massacre took place in Limassol on the south coast
in which as I recall about 50 Turkish Cypriots were killed, in
some cases by bulldozers crushing their flimsy homes. I said to
Makarios sharply that such beastly actions had to stop."
Fine wordsbut nothing was done. On his visit to Athens
at that time George Ball records
that "Greek Prime Minister [George] Papandreou contended
that the "turbulence" over Cyprus resulted only from
Turkey's invasion threats. I told him that although I had heard
all that before it simply was not true."
The United Nations not only failed to condemn
the usurpation of the legal order in Cyprus by force, but actually
rewarded it by treating the by then wholly Greek Cypriot administration
as if it were the Government of Cyprus. This acceptance has continued
to the present day, and reflects no credit upon the United Nations,
nor upon Britain, the US and the other countries, including now
the EU, who have acquiesced in it.
Despite the arrival of UN troops in Cyprus in
March 1964 the Greek Cypriots had continued their attacks on Turkish
Cypriot civilians. In June 1964 the position of the Turkish Cypriots
became so serious that public opinion in Turkey felt that they
could no longer stand by. They therefore warned that they would
intervene under Article 4 of the Treaty of Guarantee
On 7 August 1964 the Greek Cypriots attacked
Turkish Cypriot villages, provoking the Turkish government to
send four warplanes to attack the Greek Cypriot village of Polis.
On 8 August thirty Turkish jets flew low over Greek Cypriot towns
on the north coast, and on 9 August, sixty-four Turkish planes
flew low over north-west Cyprus.
On 12 August the US Ambassador to Greece was
instructed to urge the Greek government to stop the attacks on
Turkish Cypriots, and Kruschev told the Greek Cypriots that they
could expect no support from the Soviet Union
Finally the Greek Cypriots desisted, but had it not been for these
warning flights there would have been few Turkish Cypriots left
alive. They were saved by the Turkish Air Force, not by the UN.
Turkey did not land troops, because they were
threatened by a letter from US President Johnson on 5 June 1964
that if Turkey were invaded by the Soviets America would not comply
with its NATO obligation to defend them. This was an arrogant,
illegal, and empty threat, for America's responsibility under
the North Atlantic Treaty was clear, and there is no possibility
that America's own strategic interests could permit a Soviet takeover
of Turkey or the Dardanelles. The threat was nevertheless enough
to postpone Turkish intervention for another ten years.
The Turkish Cypriots were forced to withdraw
into defended enclaves, and it was therefore in January 1964,
not in 1974, that Cyprus was divided. On 14 January 1964 "Il
Giorno" of Italy reported: "Right now we are witnessing
the exodus of Turkish Cypriots from the villages. Thousands of
people abandoning homes, land, herds. Greek Cypriot terrorism
is relentless. This time the rhetoric of the Hellenes and the
statues of Plato do not cover up their barbaric and ferocious
behaviour." The Turkish Cypriots had to establish an elected
authority to govern themselves whilst confined in their enclaves.
Britain and the US have, in their own interests,
encouraged the world to treat the Greek Cypriots alone as the
government of all Cyprus, despite Britain's own acknowledgement
that "Cyprus Government" could mean only a government
which acts with the concurrence of its Turkish Cypriot and Greek
Cypriot members. There has been no concurrence since 1963, and
there is no "doctrine of necessity" which allows one
partner to assault and terrorise the other and then claim the
right to run the State alone. The Greek Cypriots have been asking
the Turkish Cypriots to go back since 1967, but on terms which
abrogate their basic rights and which they could not possibly
accept. The Greek Cypriots have no incentive to settle so long
as they continue to be treated as the "Government of Cyprus,"
and enabled to keep the Turkish Cypriots for so long as they please
under an embargo
against their trade and communications without any authority under
Chapter VII of the UN Charter
When in 1983 the Turkish Cypriots declared their
own Republic, Britain and the US, acted against them at the UN.
They promoted Security Council Resolutions 541 and 550, which
purported to declare the Declaration of Independence "legally
invalid," and called upon states not to recognise the Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus. However, the Security Council failed
to examine the legal basis for that proposition. It has never
been specified whether the constitutional law of Cyprus or international
law is said to be the basis of such "illegality." It
has never been explained how the 1960 constitution, having been
repudiated and expressly abrogated by the Greek Cypriots as long
ago as 1963, could still be binding upon the Turkish Cypriots
Although the UK Government deals with the Greek
Cypriot Administration as if they were the lawful Government of
Cyprus, it does not formally recognise them as such. On 25 April
1980 the Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
made the following statement in the House of Lords:
"We have conducted a re-examination of British policy and
practice concerning the recognition of Governments. This has included
a comparison with the practice of our partners and allies. On
the basis of this review we have decided that we shall no longer
accord recognition to Governments. The British Government recognises
States in accordance with common international doctrine."
On 30 July 1980 the Minister of State reiterated
that "the British Government recognises States, not Governments"
and this was affirmed again on 12th November 1987
The United States takes the same position. Accordingly, if the
British and US Governments recognise States not Governments, neither
the Greek Cypriot nor the Turkish Cypriot administration is recognised
by them as the Government of Cyprus.
Security Council Resolutions 541 and 550 seek
to discourage the recognition of more than one State in Cyprus,
but they do not purport to confer recognition upon the Greek Cypriot
Administration as the government of that State.
On 12 August 1964 the UK Representative to the
UN wrote to his government as follows:
"What is our policy and true feelings about
the future of Cyprus and about Makarios? Judging from the English
newspapers and many others, the feeling is very strong indeed
against Makarios and his so-called government and nothing would
please the British people more than to see him toppled and the
Cyprus problem solved by the direct dealings between the Turks
and the Greeks. Sometimes it seems that the obsession of some
people with "the Commonwealth" blinds us to everything
else and it would be high treason to take a more active line against
Makarios and his henchmen. At other times the dominant feature
seems to be concern lest active opposition against Makarios should
lead to direct conflict with the [Greek] Cypriots and end up with
our losing our military bases."
After 1963 Turkish Cypriot MPs, judges, and
other officials were intimidated or prevented by force from carrying
out their duties. The UK House of Commons Select Committee said
"The effect of the crisis of December 1963 was to deliver
control of the formal organs of Government into the hands of the
Greek Cypriots alone. Claiming to be acting in accordance with
"the doctrine of necessity" the Greek Cypriot members
of the House of Representatives enacted a series of laws which
provided for the operation of the organs of government without
Turkish Cypriot participation."
The Select Committee continued at para. 29 "Equally
damaging from the Turkish Cypriot point of view was what they
considered to be their effective exclusion from representation
at, and participation in, the international fora where their case
could have been deployed . . . . . . . . . . . . ." "An
official Turkish Cypriot presence in the international political
scene virtually disappeared overnight." It is not therefore
surprising that the world has been persuaded to the Greek Cypriot
point of view.
More than 300 Turkish Cypriots are still missing
without trace from these massacres of 1963-64. These dreadful
events were not the responsibility of "the Greek Colonels"
(who were not then in power) nor an unrepresentative handful of
Greek Cypriot extremists. The persecution of the Turkish Cypriots
was an act of policy on the part of the Greek Cypriot political
and religious leadership, which has to this day made no serious
attempt to bring the murderers to justice.
Instead they have denied the facts and claimed
that there were just a few spordic killings for which both sides
were equally to blame. As recently as September 2004 the Greek
Cypriot Administration claimed that there had been no massacres
at all of Turkish Cypriots. This was received with disbelief even
by the Greek Cypriot Cyprus Mail. A Greek Cypriot journalist,
Antonis Angastionotis, concerned that the truth had been kept
from the Greek Cypriot people for so long, has made a documentary
film entitled "The Voice of Blood" which shows the attempted
genocide carried out against the Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriots
in the villages of Murataga-Sandallar-Atly«lar and Taskent
in 1974. It is unlikely that this documentary will be shown on
The Greek Cypriot attitude is both sad and foolish.
They will never convince the Turkish Cypriots that the massacres
did not happen, and until they admit that they did happen, and
seek forgiveness, the process of reconciliation cannot begin.
There are good people in Southern Cyprus who would be willing
to do that, but there are others in powerful positions there who
will never admit the truth lest it should undermine the wholly
unjustified political position which they have built for the Greek
Cypriot Administration in the world.
The UK Commons Select Committee found
that, "There is little doubt that much of the violence which
the Turkish Cypriots claim led to the total or partial destruction
of 103 Turkish villages and the displacement of about a quarter
of the total Turkish Cypriot population, was either directly inspired
by, or certainly connived at, by the Greek Cypriot leadership".
The UN Secretary-General reported to the Security
"When the disturbances broke out in December 1963 and continued
during the first part of 1964 thousands of Turkish-Cypriots fled
their homes, taking with them only what they could drive or carry,
and sought refuge in safer villages and areas." In September
1964 the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council
"In addition to losses incurred in agriculture and in industry
during the first part of the year, the Turkish Cypriot community
had lost other sources of its income including the salaries of
over 4,000 persons who were employed by the Cyprus Government."
The trade of the Turkish Cypriot community had considerably declined
during the period, and unemployment reached a very high level
of approximately 25,000 breadwinners.
Turkish-Cypriots had become refugees in their
own land. Expenditure of the Turkish Communal Chamber collapsed,
as a yearly subsidy formerly received from the Government had
ceased in 1964. A large part of its remaining resources had to
be used for unemployment relief and other forms of compensation
as approximately half the entire Turkish Cypriot population came
to be on relief.
On 10 September 1964 the UN Secretary-General
"The economic restrictions being imposed against the Turkish
Cypriot communities, which in some instances has been so severe
as to amount to veritable siege, indicated that the Government
of Cyprus seeks to force a potential solution by economic pressure."
This is still true today.
On 24 July 1965 the United Kingdom formally
protested the unlawful action of the Greek Cypriots, but continued
to deal with them as the Government of Cyprus, and took no effective
action to stop them doing as they pleased. During the period 1963
to 1974 the freedom of movement of Turkish-Cypriots was severely
They were denied postal services
Their access to building materials, electrical equipment, motor
parts, fuel, chemicals and many other commodities was severely
and Turkish-Cypriot refugees had to live in tents and caves.
The UK Commons Select Committee
found that "When in July 1965 the Turkish Cypriot members
of the House of Representatives had sought to resume their seats
they were told that they could do so only if they accepted the
legislative changes to the operation of the Constitution enacted
in their absence" (ie. if they agreed to fundamental constitutional
changes to the great disadvantage of their community, imposed
upon them by force of arms). The Select Committee continued: "In
February 1966 Makarios declared that the 1960 Agreements had been
abrogated and buried."
Greek Cypriot policy after 1963 was summarised
as follows in Fileleftheros on 20 September 1992: "we the
Greek Cypriots are in full control of the Government. All the
Ministers are Greeks. Our government is the only one recognised
internationallywhy should we bring the [Turkish Cypriots]
back in? The [Turkish Cypriots] today control only 3% of the land.
They have no rich resources and they are living through difficult
times from an economic point of view. They will ultimately have
to accept our point of viewor go."
The Greek Cypriots sometimes allege that it
was they who were attacked, by the Turkish Cypriots, who were
determined to wreck the 1960 agreements. However, the Turkish
Cypriots were not only outnumbered by nearly four to one; they
were also surrounded in their villages by armed Greek Cypriots.
They had no heavy weapons, they had no way of protecting their
women and children, and Turkey was 40 miles away across the sea.
The very idea that in those circumstances the Turkish Cypriots
were the aggressors, is absurd.
The distinguished philosopher, Michael Moran,
of Sussex University, made the following diagnosis of Greek Cypriot
"It was because they were under a kind of ideological spell,
a collective mental condition similar to what Marxists used to
call "false-consciousness" that the Greek Cypriots could
embark upon their particular course of action in December 1963
with all the zeal and confidence they did. Brainwashed through
at least a hundred years of school-teaching and sermonising into
a set of beliefs pathologically at odds with any plausible account
of historical and political realities; lacking contact with a
counterbalancing tradition of rational criticism; for the most
part incapable of ironic scepticism towards theological obfuscationthe
Greek Cypriot leaders were effectively de-sensitised to the equally
important rights of the Turkish Cypriots. In this way they were
able to treat their Turkish compatriots with such consistent and
irrational abuse, hardly noticing that this was in fact what they
The Matron of the Nicosia Hospital, Nurse Trkan
Aziz MBE recalled in her memoirs
how Greek Cypriot militia roamed the hospital wards killing the
Turkish Cypriot patients
Later she found the bodies of two Turkish Cypriot boys to whom
she had given refuge in her own apartments at the hospital. "The
two sat on chairs exactly where I had left them, but this time
they did not rise to greet me with smiles. Dark blood welled through
the tattered remnants of their shirts and dripped on the carpet.
Their Greek Cypriot "guard" had vanished, spraying the
staircase senselessly with bullets as he left"
Matron Aziz describes the horror of Ayios Vasilios
"a few feet down they found the first bodies,
three men thrown on top of each other, then a boy whose hands
had been tied behind his knees, then a little girl, then an old
man dressed in his peasant-style baggy trousers, then some women.
There were 21 bodies, almost all dressed, but not in hospital
garb. These were Turkish Cypriot families who had lived in Ayios
The relevance of "hospital garb" is
that the Greek Cypriots "revealed a new depth of sickness
of the mind by insisting the bodies were of patients in the hospital
who had died of natural causes
They had issued a press statement saying "Turks distort the
On 28 July 1965
the former British Minister, Duncan Sandys said in the House of
Commons: "the flagrantly illegal action of the Cyprus government
gives to Turkey an unquestionable right under the Treaty of Guarantee
to intervene in order to restore the Constitution."
The Greek Cypriots, still not confident that
they could eliminate the Turkish Cypriots without help from Greece,
began to augment their forces soon after the events of 1963. In
his book "Democracy at Gunpoint" Andreas Papandreou
recalls that in 1964 "A clandestine operation began on a
huge scale; of nightly shipments of arms and "volunteers"
who arrive in Cyprus in civilian clothes and then join their Greek
"Newsweek" had likewise reported on
27 July 1964 that: "Before dawn each day the great iron doors
of the port of Limassol are slammed shut . . . UN troops are barred.
A few hours later the doors swing open and covered lorries, weaving
on overloaded springs, roar out of the port and head toward the
Despite the withdrawal of Turkish Cypriots into
defended enclaves, they were subjected to further massacres of
civilians in 1967 when, on 27 March the Greeks and Greek Cypriots
shelled the village of Mari for four hours. On 15 November 1967
2,000 armed men with artillery and armoured forces attacked the
Turkish Cypriot quarter of Ayios Theodoros. At the same time the
village of Getcikale (Kophinou) was attacked. During these attacks
UN soldiers watched helpless as women children, and old men were
killedmany burned alive in their own homesand 50
houses were destroyed. Only further warning flights by the Turkish
Air Force prevented more massacres at this time, and forced the
withdrawal of some of the mainland Greek forces which had been
illegally built up in Cyprus.
And what was the reaction of the international
They did not launch air attacks against the
Greek Cypriots, as they later did against the Serbsthey
did not complain about ethnic cleansing, or "attempts to
change the demographic character of Cyprus." They expressed
no concern for Turkish Cypriot refugees and missing persons, nor
for the homes, farms and businesses they had lost,and they
did not complain about the 20,000 Greek troops on the island.
Instead they rewarded the Greek Cypriots by treating them as the
Government of all Cyprus.
In 1971 General Grivas returned to Cyprus to
form EOKA-B, which was committed to making Cyprus a wholly Greek
island and annexing it to Greece. In a speech to the Greek Cypriot
Grivas said. "The Greek forces from Greece have come to Cyprus
in order to impose the will of the Greeks of Cyprus upon the Turks.
We want ENOSIS but the Turks are against it. We shall impose our
will. We are strong and we shall do so."
By 15 July 1974 a powerful force of mainland
Greek troops had assembled in Cyprus and with their backing the
Greek Cypriot National Guard overthrew Makarios and installed
one Nicos Sampson as "President." On 22nd July Washington
Star News reported: "Bodies littered the streets and
there were mass burials . . . People told by Makarios to lay down
their guns were shot by the National Guard."
Turkish Cypriots appealed to the Guarantor powers
for help, but only Turkey was willing to make any effective response."
On 20 July 1974 Turkey intervened under Article IV of the Treaty
of Guarantee"(UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
doc. CPS/75, Jan, 1987). The Greek newspaper Eleftherotipia
published an interview with Nicos Sampson on 26 February 1981
in which he said "Had Turkey not intervened I would not only
have proclaimed ENOSISI would have annihilated the Turks
On 17 April 1991 US Ambassador Nelson Ledsky
testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "Most
of the "missing persons" disappeared in the first days
of July 1974, before the Turkish intervention on the 20th. Many
killed on the Greek side were killed by Greek Cypriots in fighting
between supporters of Makarios and Sampson." On 6th November
1974 TA NEA newspaper reported the erasure of dates from the graves
of Greek Cypriots killed in the five days 1520 July, in
order to blame their deaths on the subsequent Turkish military
On 3 March 1996 the Greek Cypriot Cyprus
Mail wrote: "[Greek] Cypriot governments have found it
convenient to conceal the scale of atrocities during the 15th
July coup in an attempt to downplay its contribution to the tragedy
of the summer of 1974 and instead blame the Turkish invasion for
all casualties. There can be no justification for any government
that failed to investigate this sensitive humanitarian issue.
The shocking admission by the Clerides government that there are
people buried in Nicosia cemetery who are still included in the
list of the "missing" is the last episode of a human
drama which has been turned into a propaganda tool."
Referring to the wife of a Greek Cypriot "missing
person" whom he had interviewed, the Greek Cypriot journalist
George Lanitis wrote
"The woman was used ruthlessly by the Cyprus propaganda machine
to impress on world opinion the unquestionably tragic situation
of the relatives of the missing persons. She was fooled. I was
fooled and many other journalists were fooled and we fooled our
readers. I apologise, but I acted like the rest of them, bona
In the village of Tokhni on 14 August 1974 all
the Turkish Cypriot men between the ages of 13 and 74, except
for eighteen who managed to escape, were taken away and shot.
(Times, Guardian, 21 August)
In Zyyi on the same day all the Turkish-Cypriot
men aged between 19 and 38 were taken away and were never seen
again. On the same day Greek-Cypriots opened fire in the Turkish-Cypriot
neighbourhood of Paphos killing men, women, and children indiscriminately.
On 23 July 1974 the Washington Post reported "In a
Greek raid on a small Turkish village near Limassol 36 people
out of a population of 200 were killed. The Greeks said that they
had been given orders to kill the inhabitants of the Turkish villages
before the Turkish forces arrived."
"The Greeks began to shell the Turkish
quarter on Saturday, refugees said. Kazan Dervis, a Turkish Cypriot
girl aged 15, said she had been staying with her uncle. The [Greek
Cypriot] National Guard came into the Turkish sector and shooting
began. She saw her uncle and other relatives taken away as prisoners,
and later heard her uncle had been shot."
On 28 July the New York Times reported
that 14 Turkish-Cypriot men had been shot in Alaminos. On 24 July
1974 "France Soir" reported "The Greeks burned
Turkish mosques and set fire to Turkish homes in the villages
around Famagusta. Defenceless Turkish villagers who have no weapons
live in an atmosphere of terror and they evacuate their homes
and go and live in tents in the forests. The Greeks' actions are
a shame to humanity."
On 22 July Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit called
upon the UN to "stop the genocide of Turkish-Cypriots"
and declared "Turkey has accepted a cease-fire, but will
not allow Turkish-Cypriots to be massacred."
The German newspaper Die Zeit wrote on 30 August 1974 "the
massacre of Turkish Cypriots in Paphos and Famagusta is the proof
of how justified the Turks were to undertake their intervention".
According to the Daily Telegraph156:"Turkish
Cypriots, who had suffered from physical attacks since 1963, called
on the guarantor powers to prevent a Greek conquest of the island.
When Britain did nothing Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied its
northern part. Turkish Cypriots have constitutional right on their
side and understandably fear a renewal of persecution if the
Turkish army withdraws".
"Turkey intervened to protect the lives
and property of the Turkish-Cypriots, and to its credit it has
done just that. In the 12 years since, there have been no killings
and no massacres" Lord Willis (Labour) House of Lords 17th
The 1976 UK House of Commons Select Committee
on Cyprus found
that Turkey had proposed joint Anglo-Turkish action under the
Treaty of Guarantee, and this was confirmed by Prime Minister
Ecevit on 14th August 1974
However the Labour Government in Britain refused to take any effective
action, even though they had troops and aircraft in the Sovereign
Bases in Cyprus. They argued that Britain was under no duty to
take military action, but Article 2 of the Treaty provided that
Britain would guarantee the state of affairs established by the
basic articles of the 1960 Constitution, which it manifestly failed
to do. The Select Committee concluded that "Britain had a
legal right to intervene, she had a moral obligation to intervene.
She did not intervene for reasons which the Government refuses
Some people argue that having defeated the Sampson
coup, and Makarios having returned to the Presidential Palace,
Turkey should have withdrawn and left the Turkish Cypriots again
at the mercy of Makarios, the man who had been responsible for
the earlier massacres. That proposition has only to be stated
for its absurdity to be appreciated. It must be remembered that
UN troops had been in Cyprus since March 1964 and had failed to
protect the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots were later
to see what happened to the Moslem people of Srebrenica under
Turkey could discharge its treaty obligation
only by providing a safe haven for the Turkish Cypriots in which
they could live in peace and freedom, and by encouraging them
to reach a new political arrangement with the Greek Cypriots in
which they could play their part as political equals in the government
of the island. This Turkey has done, and has been praised by the
UN, the US, and the EU for the role it has played in persuading
the Turkish Cypriots to accept the Annan Plan in April 2004.
Even if the Treaty of Guarantee had not existed
Turkey would have been wholly justified in intervening to protect
the Turkish Cypriots from attempted genocide and remaining there
for as long as their protection was needed, on the same legal
basis as NATO intervened to protect ethnic Albanians in Kosovo
from attempted genocide.
The United Nations, the Commonwealth, and the
rest of the world have put political expediency before principle,
and failed to condemn the appalling behaviour of the Greek Cypriots.
Greek Cypriots are guilty of attempted genocide in violation of
Articles 2(a), (b) and (c) and Articles 3(a), (b), (c), (d) and
(e) of the 1948 Genocide Convention, but no action has ever been
taken against them. Instead they have been rewarded by being treated
as the Government of all Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots by contrast
were frozen out of the UN, the Commonwealth and almost every other
international organisation, and were not even allowed to be heard
when important decisions affecting their future were made.
This act of betrayal by the United Nations itself
has enabled the Greek Cypriots for more than forty years to treat
the Turkish Cypriots as a mere community, to take most of the
international aid for themselves, to embargo Turkish Cypriot trade
and communications with the outside world, to occupy the Cyprus
chair in all international institutions, and to convince the world
that they, and not the Turkish Cypriots are the injured party.
Even today, despite having voted to accept the
Annan Plan in April 2004, the Turkish Cypriots are still frozen
out of their rightful place in the world, and still suffer a wholly
unjustified embargo on their trade and communications. What have
the Turkish Cypriots done to deserve such treatment?
30 September 2004
107 Michael Stephen LL.M. is a Barrister and international
lawyer and was a member of the UK Parliament 1992-97. He held
a Harkness Fellowship in International Law at Stanford and Harvard,
and was Assistant Legal Adviser to the UK Ambassador to the UN
for the 25th General Assembly. He is the author of "The Cyprus
Question." (London, July 2001). Back
"The Way The Wind Blows" Collins 1976, p.242. Back
"The Past has Another Pattern" Norton 1982 at p.345. Back
Zurich and London Agreements on Cyprus 1960; European Convention
on Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms. Back
Alithia 14.12.85. Back
31st March 2004-Main Article iii. Back
The Greek Cypriot terrorist organisation. Back
page 340. Back
Cyprus Mail 12.2.63. Back
Turkish Communal Chamber v Council of Ministers 5 CLR (1963) 59,
77, 78. Back
"Ethnikos Kiryx" 15.6.65. Back
Telegram no. 162/1964 Back
FO doc. 1057 of 15.2.1964 Back
The Guardian 26th February 1964. Back
H.C. no. 23 of 1986-87. 2nd July 1987. Back
Art. 1 of the Treaty of Guarantee declares prohibited any action
likely to promote directly or indirectly union with any other
state or partition of the island, and Art. 185(2) of the Constitution
is to similar effect. Back
op. cit. p.345. Back
op. cit. p.353. Back
"In the event of a breach of the provisions of the present
Treaty, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom undertake to consult
together with respect to the representations or measures necessary
to ensure observance of those provisions. In so far as common
or concerted action may not prove possible, each of the three
guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the
sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the
present Treaty." Back
George W. Ball "The Past has Another Pattern" Norton
1982 at p.357. Back
FO telegram 1131 of 12th March 1964. Back
See Haktanir "Under the Shadow of the Embargo""
2001 Center for Strategic Research. Back
Hansard vol. 408 col. 1121. See also Hansard (Commons) vol. 983
WA cols. 277-9 25th April 1980. Back
Hansard (Commons) vol. 989 WA col. 723. See also vol. 122 WA col.
240 (12th Nov. 1987). Back
Hansard (Commons) vol. 122 WA col. 240. Back
H.C. no. 23 of 1986-87. 2nd July 1987, para. 28. Back
ibid para. 27. Back
UN doc. S/8286. Back
UN doc. 5950. Back
UN doc. S/5950. Back
UN docs. S/5764, S/5950, S/7350. Back
UN docs. S/5950. S/7001. Back
UN docs. S/5950, S/7350. Back
H.C. no. 23 of 1986-87. Back
"Sovereignty Divided"-1998 p.12. Back
"The Death of Friendship" Charles Bravos Publishers,
London, 2000. ISBN 0-9514464-3-6. Back
Chapter 9. Back
page 84. Back
page 89. Back
page 90. Back
Hansard col. 466. Back
"New Cyprus" May 1987. Back
Cyprus Weekly 7 May 1998 Back
See also The Times and The Guardian, 23 July 1974. Back
The Times 23.7.74. Back
Hansard, col. 223. Back
HC 331 1975/76 para. 22. Back
Daily Telegraph 15 August 1974. Back