The impact of international interference in Cyprus before and after the 1974 Turkish Invasion
It would be easy to describe Cyprus as simply the perfect place to go on holiday however when visiting the island it does not take long to discover elements of both its ancient and more recent past and despite its pleasant appearance on the surface its past is a lot more bleak. When visiting Cyprus it is easy to be left fascinated by the culture and history of the island with elements of its ancient history still being seen in places like Paphos. What really grabs the attention of people is seeing the Turkish Cypriot flag engraved into the Kyrenia Mountain range.
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It is a powerful and striking image which reminds people that this is an island divided. In this paper I will be focussing on the islands most recent conflict which has left it torn in two. It will be important to avoid bias as it can be easy to subscribe to the point of view of a particular community. It has therefore been important to try and maintain an approach which is neutral. This paper will be examining how Cyprus has become a victim to the actions made by other nations. The paper will be aiming to prove that the actions of nations like Britain, Greece and Turkey exacerbated relations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots which has meant that it has become increasingly difficult for a united Cyprus to exist as a single nation. Cyprus now finds itself in the middle of a tense relationship between Greece and Turkey. This paper will show how reunification even today is made difficult due to the decisions made by countries like Greece and Turkey. The interpretation of events is made up through the reading of books, primary material like the imposed UN resolutions and some footage. As the situation in Cyprus is still ongoing some information may not be known to the public which may make it harder for me to get a full clear picture. There is however plenty of new fresh online material which can be accessed that can be used to build knowledge on the subject. It also means that plenty of the news sites that will be looked at will contain useful insights into what is happening in Cyprus, including whether attitudes towards each other have changed since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974
The paper will be split into three separate chapters. In the first chapter the focus will be on what created the divide between two communities that had seemingly lived side by side for hundreds of years without any trouble. In order to do this it will be necessary to look at how the island was effected by being governed over by Britain. The starting point will for this paper will be the 1950s, although in regards to education I will be looking at some policies earlier then that as it is a factor that has helped to fuel ethnic nationalism over a long period of time. The majority of this chapter will focus on how divisions were created due to the actions of the British. The violence started by EOKA and the British response will be a key point in the history of the island as it highlighted just how far people were prepared to go in order to create change inside Cyprus. The end of the chapter will be looking at Cypriot independence and the system of government that was to be put in place. In the second chapter the paper will discuss the problems of the new system of government and how the two sides struggled to cooperate. It will be important to note that cooperation between the two ethnic groups had to of existed before the invasion as they were not divided by a single border between north and south like they are today. The paper will therefore look at how the new constitution failed to encourage cooperation between between the two communities. The actions of the Greeks and Turkish will be particularly important to examine as the actions of their governments can be blamed on Cyprus becoming a divided country today.
In the third chapter the focus will be on the aftermath of the Turkish invasion. There will be some analyse on the immediate response to Turkeys partitioning of the island, which will bring into play the international response and whether that made any difference to the situation and also whether more could have been done to stop Turkey. The focus of the international response will be centred on the US. This chapter will explore the consequences to the partitioning of the island and how future negotiations have been effected because of events in 1974. The actions of Turkey in particular will be a major focus for this chapter as it is their presence on the island which is proving to be a major stumbling block when it comes to resolving the situation in Cyprus. There creation of Turkish federated state of Cyprus which later became the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 1983 is sign of their intention to be involved in future resolution to the situation. The chapter will conclude by at the attempts to bring about an end to the partition of the island.
This will involve a look at both international and domestic attempts to bring about some kind of agreement between all the sides involved. As part of this it will be important to look at some of the viable suggestions that have been put forward and the problems that each one brings.
This chapter will be highlighting some of the negative effects that British colonial policy had on the relationship between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Despite British influence at the time it can not be forgotten that both ethnic groups identified themselves with their “mother countries”, Greece and Turkey, rather then simply as a Cypriot. Therefore there was always potential for some kind of tension between the two ethnic groups, especially when considering some of the major differences between the two ethnic groups. Both groups find their identities clashing at various levels, including religion. Despite Turkey being a secular nation many of its people are Muslim, this is the same for Turkish Cypriots while in contrast the Greek Cypriots are orthodox Christians. Religion is of course extremely important to a person’s identity and this is particularly true of Cyprus which is one of the most religious countries in Europe. One thing that is noticeable today in the capital city, Nicosia, is that in the Greek side of the city there are churches while across the Green line there are mosques. This division did not always exist and there would have been numerous times where people from both ethnic groups would have come across each other either through trade or simply as neighbours. Despite the religious differences many Turkish Cypriots would consider themselves to be secular Muslims unlike Turkish Muslims living in mainland Turkey. There are other differences that make both communities distinctive including language, with both Greek and Turkish being spoken on the island. These differences help us to see why both communities feel a sense of attachment to their “mother countries” and are proud of their nations past. These differences are not causes of conflict but they do hinder attempts to create a unified nation and they explain why there are such major cultural differences between the two ethnic groups.
Despite the differences both communities have a strong sense of attachment to Cyprus. In fact both groups while identifying themselves with their mother countries actually see themselves as different from their mainland counterparts, both communities will point to a unique Cypriot dialect and cuisine as part of this. Many Turkish and Greek Cypriots feel a sense of pride in their own unique identity from those in mainland Turkey and Greece. Despite this one whole Cypriot community does not exist. There are a number of important factors that have divided the two communities. One of the most important is that of education. Education took many steps forward under British rule but instead of having a single Cypriot curriculum each community would receive the education of their “mother country”. This enabled both Greece and Turkey to promote its own national ideologies which meant what could be seen as simply an ethnic divide was now becoming a national one. The British had made attempts to centralise the education system in Cyprus and banned the teaching of Greek and Turkish history, the new policy in the mid 1930s also stopped the importing of textbooks from both countries. Despite this children were still separated between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot schools and in 1955 the Turkish Cypriot Board of Education defied the policy and brought back textbooks for Turkish Cypriot history. Over the latter part of British rule the Turkish flag was being flown on weekends at Turkish Cypriot schools; a sign of the growing Turkish nationalism on the island. This came despite attempts to centralise the educational system, the failure to do so led to generations of young Cypriots being taught nationalistic views of their “mother countries”. Britain’s failure to centralise the education system not only allowed two communities to develop nationalistic differences but also made it more difficult for the two communities to cooperate. This can perhaps be explained by its divide and rule policy which it sometimes used to prevent any major united uprising on the island.
The lack of a single Cypriot ethnic community would suggest that the entire population did not share the same attributes to form a single ethnic community. The growing divide between the two Cypriot communities would suggest that areas like education were pushing the sides further apart. Leading academics like Anthony Smith believe that the existence of ethnic communities can be based on six key attributes:
a collective proper name
a myth of common ancestry
shared historical memories
one or more differentiating elements of common culture
an association with a specific “homeland”
a sense of solidarity for significant sectors of the population.
These six attributes can be seen to apply to the two ethnic communities within Cyprus and it is also clear that each of these attributes can be enhanced within an ethnic community through education. The rise of nationalism within Cyprus can be seen by the use of Turkish flags at Turkish Cypriot schools but it was not just a Turkish Cypriot phenomenon. Since British rule began the Greek Cypriots had wanted Cyprus to be incorporated into the Greek state which was known as enosis. Michael Mouskos was to become a key figure in Greek Cypriot nationalism as he became known across the world for promoting enosis, he was elected as Archbishop Makarios III on 18 October 1950. He was to become the voice of the Greek Cypriots and it was his personal ambition to bring about enosis.
The British government however showed little interest in relinquishing control of Cyprus. A report was released which stated hat Cyprus was having “positive and increasing strategic role as an air base and a garrison” but went on to conclude “we must resign ourselves to the position of being primarily an occupying power.” Britain’s concerns in the Middle East meant that it viewed Cyprus as an important part of its military strategy in the Mediterranean. Cyprus by this time was nothing more then a pawn in the hands of the British. The British valued Cyprus so highly at the time that it was even willing to upset relations with Greece itself which had responded to Marikos call for playing a more active role. The lack of progress towards enosis led to increased hostility towards the British leading to the creation of the terrorist group, Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston (EOKA) which translates to the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters. EOKA was led by General Grivas he gave the order for its first attacks on the island on 1 April 1955. The British responded to the escalation of violence by appointing more Turkish-Cypriots within the auxiliary Cypriot Police. The high commissioner, Sir John Harding put little thought into the long term side effects of having Turkish Cypriot dominant police force. These methods not only fuelled anti British rhetoric from the Greeks but also led them to think that they were trying to build Turkish Cypriot opposition to Makarios. This uneven handed approach could also be seen by the British banning of all Greek speaking political parties and yet allowing the creation of a political party called “Cyprus is Turkish”. The actions of the British increased Greek Cypriot support of EOKA, which in turn led to the start of communal violence between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Something which had been rare before 1956.
The lack of a centralised education system and the methods of the British during the outbreak of violence meant that by the end of the 1950s the differences between the two communities were not only cultural and ethnic but nationalistic too. The British had not only failed to keep control of the island but it had also pushed both communities closer to their mother countries. The Greek Cypriots demand for enosis led many Turkish Cypriots to question weather they could continue to live side by side with the Greeks and they started to set out their own vision for Cyprus in the form of takism, which meant the partitioning of Cyprus. They also formed their own terrorist organisation to tackle EOKA and to promote takism which was known as Turk Mukavemet Teshkilat? (TMT) which translates as the Turkish Resistance Organisation. The British policy of divide and rule not only ensured that both communities were now firmly in opposition with each other but also did considerable damage to the Graeco-Turkish relations. Like Greece, Turkey was taking more interest in events that were happening in Cyprus. Radio broadcasts from Ankara and Athens often had the effect of whipping up agitation inside their respective communities. There were of course numerous left wing Cypriots that wanted the two communities to work together for full independence but these people were often targeted by right wing groups like the TMT. There was a growing need for a resolution to the Cyprus Question with the issue being brought up by the Greeks during UN meetings. It became increasingly clear that Britain could not hold on to the whole of Cyprus leading to the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan arranging various meetings with Greek, Turkish and Cypriot leaders in order to come to some sort of agreement.
The fact that the solution to Cyprus required the attention of nations outside of Cyprus indicates how the people of Cyprus had a much smaller say in any deal that could be reached. It seems that any solution that was agreed with had to have some kind of approval from either Greece or Turkey.
With so many parties involved in discussion the final agreement was always going to have to mean a compromise between the various groups. Many nationalist Greek Cypriots would have been disappointed not to achieve enosis, but it was always likely to end in failure when 18% of the population in Cyprus was made up of Turkish Cypriots in 1960. The prolonging of the violence would have made many Cypriots including Makarios weary of the fact that the island could be partitioned, something the Greeks were keen to avoid. All four nations would eventually come to some sort of agreement with the signing of the Zurich and London agreements which granted Cyprus its independence. Although Cyprus did gain its independence it did so with its hands tied. This can be blamed on the rushed nature of the London Conference and the fear that without a quick solution the island would be partitioned. Makarios mentioned this very problem when describing the negotiations in which he felt “there was not enough time to study the agreement … I am sure that if I did not sign the agreement, there might be partition.” The new agreement meant that any changes to the new Cypriot constitution would have to be approved by both Greece and Turkey, this in itself infringes on the sovereignty of Cyprus and demonstrates how they lacked full control over affairs within its own borders.
There are numerous areas within the new Cypriot constitution that would suggest that it was written by nations outside of Cyprus itself rather then by Cypriots themselves. The move towards independence came at the cost of allowing the British to retain two separate areas which would be used as military bases under the Treaty of Establishment. This therefore allowing them to maintain influence in Cyprus and the Middle East. The Treaty of Guarantee would prove to be a diplomatic headache during the 1960s as it allowed the guaranteeing powers (Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom) the right to take action in Cyprus if there was a breach of the treaties or the constitution.
The final treaty to be signed was the Treaty of Alliance which established a tripartite headquarters and the presence of 950 Greek troops and 650 Turkish troops.  The stationing of troops from two separate nations not only highlights that Cyprus was a deeply divided nation but also discouraged the rebuilding of relations by not allowing only a single Cypriot army to be established on the island. The separation of institutions was one of the key problems of the constitution, the constitution required the President to be Greek Cypriot while the Vice Presidency was to be Turkish Cypriot, both had the power to veto, and both were to be elected by their respective communities. The House of representatives worked in a similar way with seventy percent of the deputies being elected by the Greek Cypriots and the remaining thirty percent being elected by the Turkish Cypriots. The same quotas were used to divide the jobs of public services and the police force between the two communities. The constitution was deeply flawed, it failed to promote unity between the two communities and was designed more to protect the interests of the Greeks and Turks rather then the Cypriots.
Despite the differences of the two communities there was little reason why the two communities could not continue to live side by side if it were not for the interference of other nations. The rise of nationalism could quite possibly have been prevented if the British paid more attention on the education system, the allowing of a segregated education system encouraged both communities to look towards their “mother countries” rather than within Cyprus itself. It is one of the factors that would have encouraged many Greek Cypriots to push for enosis. The push for enosis can not be blamed on the British, but its reaction to the EOKA terrorist attacks and Greek nationalism clearly failed to defuse the situation. Instead the situation was allowed to intensify which allowed both Greece and Turkey to become more involved with events on the island. With these two nations involved there was never likely to be a solution that would simply aid the interest of the Cypriots. The new constitution was the product of nations looking out for their own nationalistic interests. It had been rushed and the damage done to the relationship between the two communities had not yet had the time it needed to heal. In the next chapter I will explain how the constitution failed so quickly and how the years following it led to the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.
Cyprus officially gained its independence from British rule on 16th August 1960. Such a moment should have been the positive turning point in Cypriot history, however Cyprus was left with a new constitution which had largely been written to appease other nations. The rebuilding of relations would be made harder by the flawed constitution which had been imposed on Cyprus by other nations. The constitution was flawed because it encouraged the divide between the two ethnic communities rather then unity. One of the ways it did this was by inadvertently encouraging both communities to vote for their own ethnic leaders rather then someone that might have been able to unite the two communities. Makarios political ambitions were to benefit greatly under the new constitution as his reputation had grown significantly during the 1950s. He was to become the first President of the Republic of Cyprus, while the Turkish Cypriots elected Dr Kutchuk as Vice President. Kutchuk was in direct opposition to Makarios as he was the representative for the Turkish Cypriots at the London and Zurich conferences. This unlikely partnership had the unenviable task of rebuilding relations between the two communities. The task was made all the more difficult due to the fact that church and state were never separated in the constitution. If it had been religion would have been less de between the two ethnic communities. Instead Makarios was able to keep his position as Archbishop which meant that while he may have been and obvious choice for the Greek Cypriots his position with the church made it more difficult for the Turkish Cypriots to identify with their new president.
The constitution was to collapse within three years of its implementation. The novelty of independence failed to ease the tension between the two sides. The members of the government inspired little confidence that peace in the long run would have succeeded as a number of ministers had been former EOKA commanders. While Rauf Denktash, the President of the Turkish Communal Chamber, was seen to be active in subversion. The extremist elements of both communities continued to exist which meant that when Makarios proposed his thirteen points on November 30th 1963 it sparked outrage amongst the Turkish Cypriots and within Turkey itself. The thirteen points would have removed the Preisdent and Vice Presidents veto, as well as readjusted the ratio of Greek to Turkish Cypriots in the public services and armed forces, it was however rejected by the Turkish government before even Kutchuk had a chance to state his own opinion on the proposal. The swift reaction by the Turkish government in rejecting the proposal demonstrated that Cypriot independence was in fact limited by the actions of other nations. The fact that outside nations had the final say on another nations constitution made a mockery of the whole system that had been created during the London and Zurich conferences. While it is understandable that the move by Makarios would have been seen as a political attack on the Turkish Cypriots, the proposals that had been set out were not unreasonable. Makarios wanted to change a constitution that had made Cyprus become “first country in the world to be denied majority rule by its own constitution.” The proposal raised tensions between the two communities and fighting eventually broke out on 21st December. It was the spark that was needed for the more extreme Turkish Cypriots to pursue its ambition of partition of the island.
The emergence of a “green line” between the Greek and Turkish districts in Nicosia symbolised the ethnic division that existed between the two communities. It brought about the end of government co-operation between the two communities. It is not however known whether the Turkish Cypriots were forced out of the government or withdrew to form their own administration. The move did however mean that ethnic nationalism would continue to dominate Cypriot politics rather then civic nationalism which is what Smith would describe as a nationalism based on civic identity and shared territory. The battle between civic and ethnic nationalism was essentially a battle between left and right wing parties. Left wing parties offered “Cypriot-centred alternatives”, this was an alternative which would have most likely suited Cyprus as it would have allowed the two communities to unite under one nationality, however the West was less keen. The strongest party on the left was the Anorthotkon Komma Ergazomenou Laou (AKEL) which translated as the Progressive Party of the Working People, the trouble for the West was that it was a communist party. The presence of a relatively strong communist party in Cyprus meant that the West was keen to push for further co-operation between the two right wing forces. Western concern had risen because they believed that the situation could be exploited by the Soviet Union which would then make Cyprus a “Mediterranean Cuba”. There was also concern over the distinct possibility of Turkish invasion of the island after Turkish jets flew over the capital, Nicosia. The Western concern over the island was not so much to do with the clashes between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities but more to do with the fact that the island was of strategic interest to Britain and therefore to NATO.
The flawed constitution is a symbol of how the interests of the Cypriot population took a back seat, if a more appropriate system had been drawn up there would have been no need for Makarios
to propose reforms of the constitution. The break down of the constitution meant that Cyprus was once against exposed to international influence. Makarios had worked hard to main neutrality during the Cold War and had resisted attempts by the US to allow a NATO peacekeeping force into the country. The Cyprus Question would eventually become a matter for the United Nations (UN) which passed Resolution 186 on the 4th March 1964. The main outcome of Resolution 186 was the recommendation of UN peacekeeping force to be sent for a period of three months and for a mediator to be appointed “for the purpose of promoting a peaceful solution and an agreed settlement of the problem confronting Cyprus”. It would be the first of many UN resolutions which would aim to bring about some kind of long lasting peace on the island. The need for UN intervention just four years after Cyprus gained independence is evidence of how the three guarantor nations (Britain, Greece and Turkey) had failed to deliver a workable system. It would lead to the set up of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) which still operates today. The current crisis can therefore be linked back to the failed constitution. Fixing relations between the two communities would prove increasingly more difficult as both Greece and Turkey became more interested in the outcome to the Cyprus question. Turkey in particular was noted for holding a firm stance over issues in a report by the secretary-general of the UN. It was reported that any move towards enosis, would mean that Turkey would “exercise its treaty right of intervention”. Enosis was still a wish for the Greek Cypriots and it was being actively considered as one of the possibilities, although it is hard to see how that would have been achieved without a strong Turkish and Turkish Cypriot backlash. The lull in the violence managed to last until November 1967, in a year which saw more external issues effect the situation in Cyprus.
The political situation in Greece changed drastically due to a military coup on the 21st April 1967. The military Junta was seen as opportunity for the possibility of a “NATO solution for Cyprus.” As always the future of Cyprus was discussed by other nations with interests over the island. The Junta resumed negotiations with the Turks, they hoped to achieved enosis in exchange for territory. The negotiations ended in failure but what is most significant was that the talks were held without the presence of Makarios. It once again highlights how Cyprus was a pawn in the foreign policies of Greece and Turkey. It is also clear that both nations neglected to find a solution that would have allowed co-operation between the two communities. The presence of Greece and Turkey encouraged both Greek and Turkish Cypriot extremists on the island to keep on fighting for their goals. This was despite the fact that the majority of the Greek Cypriot population had given up on their dream for enosis, which had been renounced as “unfeasible” by Makarios in 1968. This announcement had come after another further violence broke out in November 1967 after a small Greek Cypriot police patrol was refused entry to a mixed village by a Turkish Cypriot commander. The Greek Cypriot National Guard responded under the orders of General Grivas (the former leader of EOKA) to ruthlessly take two villages. Turkey threatened military intervention which forced the Greeks to withdraw over 7000 Greek troops, including Grivas. Despite the incident potential for a solution existed as tensions between the two communities had eased. Makarios moderate approach meant there was room for manoeuvre during negotiations, however it was his moderate approach that led to a split between him and the Junta in Greece.
The growing divide within the Greek community would ultimately lead to the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. The invasion occurred after the Junta authorised EOKA-B to overthrow the Makarios government in a military coup on the 15th June 1974. EOKA-B was formed by Grivas who had returned to the country in 1971. The objectives of the new terrorist group was to bring about enosis through the use of violence. The death of Grivas just weeks before the coup occurred led to it being more directly controlled by the military junta in Greece. The actions of the Junta ended any chance of the two communities living together in peace without the need of UN mediators. The number of UN peacekeepers in Cyrus had reduced significantly since 1964 which was a sign of the improving relations between the two communities but this was shattered by extremists and their backers Greece. The coup was evidence of just how far the Junta was willing to go to achieve enosis, they did this despite the fact that the Greek Cypriot community generally supported Makarios. The coup highlighted the challenge UN mediators faced, bridging the gap between the two communities may have been easier if it was not for the strong stances held by both Greece and Turkey. The Greek Juntas determination for enosis was to be matched by the Turkish aim to have the island partitioned. The Turkish invasion commenced just five days after the coup despite it not being directed against the Turkish Cypriot community. The Turkish president, Bulent Ecevit later recalled that “the coup was the green light for our invasion.” The Cypriots themselves had little choice in the outcome. The Turkish government legitimised their invasion by pointing to their right to intervene which was granted to them under the Treaty of Guarantee.
The potential for invasion had remained since 1964 but both then and in 1967 they had prevented, the situation in 1974 was however different. US foreign policy played a significant role within Greece, a large contingent of CIA operatives existed within Athens and they often had dealings with one of the leaders of the Greek Junta, Dimitris Ioannidis. This was despite the fact that in public it was US policy to encourage the Junta to return to democracy, the US was however prepared to work with the Junta as they were both anti-communist. When the Greek Junta rejected the American request to use the facilities at Elefsina Air Base to help support the Israelis during the Yom Kippur war they were left in doubt that Cyprus would be crucial to the defence of Israel. The US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger became more determined to engineer the removal of Makarios and install a NATO/US friendly government in Cyprus. Something that could be achieved either via a coup or by a “Turkish invasion of sufficient territory.” When the Turkish invasion began the US acted with “indecision and obsession with not antagonizing Ankara”, this therefore allowed the Turkish army enough time to gain and consolidate territory. The UN response under resolution 353 was for all countries to cease fighting and to respect the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, but like so many UN resolutions that were implemented during the crisis the Turkish government chose to ignore it. The Special Representative for Cyprus between 1996 and 2003, David Hannay noted that during the “military phase the outside powers, the US and the UK in particular, avoided intervening and did little more than wring their hands, calling for restraint on all sides.” This was despite the fact Britain had several thousands troops stationed at its bases in Cyprus and that it signed up to being one of the guarantors of the island. In a television interview it is clear that Makarios was left disappointed he speaks of how Britain’s “guarantee has proved worthless.”
The Turkish invasion came to a halt on the 18th August after achieving all their objectives, including the capture of over a third of the islands territory. The number of Greek Cypriot refugees created by the conflict was claimed to be as high as 200,000 and ethnic hatred between the two communities returned as murder, rape and looting became more prominent as a result of the war. The invasion of Cyprus can be linked right back failed constitution which failed to heal the tension between the two communities that had risen under British rule. It was a huge failure on the part of the three guarantors, Britain, Greece and Turkey, all of whom were more interested in their own interests rather then that of the Cypriots. The potential for peace on the island did exist, as the tensions between the two sides had decreased during the peacekeeping operation. There was however a failure to tackle extremism which was partly due to the fact that they were supported by their mother country. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus was the worst possible outcome for the country as it meant that Turkey could now force through its ambition for partition of the island. It is important to remember that the primary reason that invasion occurred was due to the actions of the Greek Junta rather then due to ethnic tensions, this should be remembered as it highlights how the Cypriot population was often forgotten about when it came to finding an answer for the Cyprus question. In the next chapter I will be looking at the consequences of the Turkish invasion and the international response to it, I will also be looking into the attempts to reunify the country.
The “green line” that runs through Cyprus was to become the border between two ethnic states. As mentioned in the previous two chapters the poor handling of the situation in Cyprus by the international community and the interference of Greece and Turkey prevented the communities from co-operating together. The presence of Turkish troops inside northern Cyprus meant that future talks would become even more complicated. During March 1975 the UN passed resolution 367 which stated its regret of the formation of “a Federated Turkish State” which it viewed as compromising the ongoing negotiations. The partition of Cyprus had given the Turkish the upper hand when it came to future negotiations, throughout the troubles on the island they had always held the view that partition would be the best option. This despite the fact that the two communities had lived together for centuries in peace. The final population exchanges occurred in 1975 after the signing of Third Vienna agreement on 2nd August 1975 which allowed for the safe transfer of Turkish Cypriots south of the “green line” to be transferred, this safe transfer would also be available to the Greek Cypriots living north of the border. The completion of this transfer was the final step away from a country where the two communities once mixed to one where the two communities would be divided by UN peacekeepers. The population distribution on the island had been radically altered due to the rise of ethnic tensions under British rule and the actions of Turkish and Greek governments thereafte
The US response to the invasion was weak in that it refused to condemn the invasion; Kissinger argued that taking sides would be counter productive. The US itself had its own domestic problems due to the Watergate scandal that had broken out, the scandal gave Kissinger greater responsibility when it came to deciding the course of the American response to the invasion. The Cyprus question did however help to unify the Greek American power base, which managed to successfully pass a bill through the US congress which imposed an arms embargo against Turkey. It was imposed against the wishes of Kissinger and President Ford, who initially vetoed the bill but eventually caved in due to strong support for it within congress. This was as far as the US government was willing to go in order to punish the Turkish government. The US was cautious of the fact that it needed Turkey on its side as a number of its bases were located there to monitor military activity in the Soviet Union. This meant that from the US point of view the desire to find a solution was limited by its own foreign policy aims. It is also important to remember that the US had always favoured some kind of partition of the island and although it was not entirely satisfied by the current situation it was aware that the security of British bases with Cyprus increased. Despite the limited US response the Turkish government responded strongly against the arms embargo by opting to suspend activity at the US bases. This validated Kissinger’s concerns about the imposing of such a bill and highlighted the limitations of US influence over Turkey. It was also proof that Turkey was not simply a satellite state for the US and that its own foreign policy interests could not be dictated to them by the US administration. The same could not be said for Cyprus which had its own territory taken just to fulfil the Turkish vision for the future of Cyprus. The Turkish invasion is another example of how Cyprus has been unable to control its own affairs due to the actions of other nations. The continued presence of Turkish troops on the island is a sign of how the Turkish government wishes to imposes its will on the Cyprus question.
Inter-communal negotiations have continued between the two sides, however in the immediate years after the war they had achieved little. This has partly been attributed to the actions of the chief Turkish Cypriot negotiator, Rauf Denktash. he was successful in embarrassing his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Glafcos Clerides when he managed to get a guarantee that the Greek side would submit the first proposal. A secret Greek proposal was handed to Denktash only for him to announce publicly that he had received and rejected the proposal. Clerides was forced to resign as he had not informed the Greek leadership that he had made such an agreement with Denktash. It was reported by the Times that “[T]here can be little doubt that the real aim in behaving as he did was to cause disarray on the Greek side and thus further delay and serious negotiation.” The delaying tactics by Denktash would not have been possible if Turkey was as equally interested in a solution as the Greeks were. The Turkish government did of course try to put across the image that it was prepared to negotiate. A spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that “what happened in Cyprus was nothing but the foundation of a temporary federal Turkish state.” This however came after Denktash has proclaimed the creation of the new Turkish state, which had the effect of disrupting negotiations in 1975. The Turkish government statement that the new state was temporary would clash with later events which saw Denktash elected as president of the new state inn 1976.
Politically the task of creating a new Turkish state was well under way and it was to be reinforced through culture and religion. Many Greek Orthodox churches and graveyards have been damaged or destroyed since the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. This was all done despite an apparent willingness on both sides for religious symbols to be protected on both sides of the border. The destruction of religious places only serves to fuel the ethnic divide between the two communities. The allowing of the destruction of religious symbols would suggest that Turkey had little intention of giving up the terriroty. This can also be seen by the influx of mainland Turks into Turkish controlled Cyprus can be seen as an attempt to not only secure the territory for the unforeseeable future but to also to reduce the support for parties that support reunification. In the 1981 elections there was a drop in support for Dentkash’s National Unity Party (NUP) which received 42.6% of the vote compared to the 53% it received in 1976. The parties that benefited were the Communal Liberation Party and the Republican Turkish Party, both stood against Dentkash’s policy of partition and both wanted a solution that would safeguard the unity of Cyprus. The NUP was able to maintain its position as the leading party due to the votes of the mainland settlers which accounted for 25% of the population. It is no surprise that there has been signs of a split between Turkish and the Turkish Cypriots. As mentioned in the first chapter, both Cypriot communities view themselves differently from those that live on mainland Turkey and Greece. The Greek Cypriot scholar, Yiannis Papadakis recalled a conversation whereby his Turkish friend stated that “I know Turkish Cypriots don’t like us much … I know how they feel about us Turks.” The influx of mainland Turks was proof that the Turkish government had little intention of pulling out of northern Cyprus and that it would continue to breach the sovereignty of Cyprus. The presence of Turkish troops and settlers meant that a future solution now had to win the approval of the Turkish government in Ankara. Inter-communal negotiations now became even more complicated as the possibility of bypassing the Turkish government in a solution was removed.
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus had essentially created two states on the island. The “green line” now acts as a physical barrier between the two communities, maintaining peace on the island as therefore become easier, but it also reduces the prospect of the two communities mixing and working together like they did before the 1950s. Contact between the two communities has dropped dramatically since the Turkish invasion and new generations of Cypriots are now born without having had any contact with the other community. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declared its independence in 1983 but failed to gain international recognition from anyone except Turkey. The creation of the unrecognised state has divided the two communities due to the economic disparities that were created by the division. The Greek Cypriot controlled Republic of Cyprus enjoyed a “vigorous recovery, leading to economic prosperity.” This was in stark contract to the experiences of the Turkish Cypriots in the TRNC. The lack of international recognition meant they missed out on the benefits of tourism and foreign investment that came into the country in the south. It has led to fears amongst the Turkish Cypriots that if a new solution permitted the liberation of free movement then the north could simply be “bought up” by the richer Greek Cypriots. This is a new issue which has made negotiations between the two communities even tougher and it has come about due to the events in 1974 and the decision by the Turkish government to support the creation of the TRNC. Denktash had declared independence for the TRNC due to the UN resolutions that called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops. It was a move that would make the TRNC even more dependent on Turkey, and not just for protection but also for financial support.
Cyprus still exists as a problem between Greece and Turkey, however the Republic of Cyprus is far less dependent on Greece for support. This is partly to do with the sense of betrayal that exists amongst the Greek Cypriots due to the actions of the Greek Junta. The majority of Greek Cypriots no longer believed in enosis however the actions of the Greek Junta and the struggles before 1974 left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Turkish Cypriots who still feared the intentions of their Greek Cypriot neighbours. The influence of Greece on the Greek Cypriots is far less significant then the influence of Turkey on Turkish Cypriots. That is not to say that Greece is no longer a key player involved in the Cyprus question, only that they are less likely to interfere with proposals for a potential peace plan. Independence as emerged as the new aim for Greek Cypriots which would mean the need for the reunification of Cyprus as a unitary sovereign state, the evidence of this can be seen in the use of the Republics flag. The Cypriot flag was created for the independence of Cyprus in 1960, however it was rarely used before 1974 as it was seen as a symbol of defeat for enosis. Since the partition of the island the flag has returned and now sits alongside the Greek flag. A day of independence is now also celebrated on the island, however the date for this celebration was moved from 16th August to the 1st October in order to enhance the occasion due to the schools being open. The desire for a single independent Cypriot nations does therefore exist. The continued presence of the Greek flag does however demonstrate that a strong attachment between Greek Cypriots and Greece still exists. The complicated situation in Cyprus is captured in a photograph taken in Ledra street in the capital Nicosia. It highlights how Cyprus is split not only between two communities but between two countries as each side of the border is represented by two flags; the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish flag in the north and the Greek and the Republic of Cyprus flag in the south.
The Greeks influence in Cyprus does therefore still exist however they have been recognised as the “least directly and the least intensively engaged in the process of the Cyprus negotiations.” It is not just a case of allowing the Greek Cypriots to take control of negotiations but also a calculated assessment by the Greek government that Turkey was internationally at a disadvantage as long as the Cyprus problem remained unresolved. A primary example of this is how Turkeys accession into the European Union is partly hampered by the situation in Cyprus. This can be seen as one of the more positive steps by the international community to put pressure on Turkey and yet it still remains a central player to any future solution. In November 2009 the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Cemil Ceick stated: “Either Cyprus or the EU,’ [then] Turkey’s choice will forever be to stand next to the Turkish Cypriots. Everybody should understand this.” Despite some of the benefits of leaving the problem unresolved most Greeks continue to note the importance of Cyprus to Greek foreign affiars, therefore meaning it has a vested interest in the outcome of any future solution. The Greek foreign minister during the mid 1990s, Theodoros Pangalos, was described as seeing Cyprus as simply a problem to be solved on a larger chessboard of Greek-Turkish relations. The announcement of the Greece-Cyprus Joint Defence Doctrine in November 1993, is an example of how Cyprus is still an issue for Greek foreign policy, it states an attack on unoccupied Cyprus is an attack on Greece.
The proposed Annan plan in 2004 is the closest the two communities have come to securing a long term solution. It is one of the few times in which the Cypriots themselves have had the final say over the future of the island. A referendum was held on the 24th April 2004, it was defeated after 75% of the Greek Cypriots voted against it, this despite the fact that 64% of Turkish Cypriots supported it. Cyprus at this point was well on the way to becoming a member of the European Union (EU), leading many Turkish Cypriots to vote “yes” believing it would end their international isolationism. Instead the result meant when Cyprus eventually became a member of the EU, only the Greek Cypriots would benefit from the privileges of being in the EU. Cyprus accession into Europe means that it has now become a problem for the EU which is still looking to permit Turkish entry. The Annan plan was rejected as Greek Cypriots saw it as being to pro-Turkish, this was in fact recognised by Sener Levent, the editor of the Turkish Cypriot paper, Afrika who wrote that:
“Instead of rejoicing at having secured too many rights, it would have been better torejoice at coming closer to a solution. We do not need Turkish or Greek victories; we want victory for the Cypriots. Regrettably, we have missed that opportunity once again.”[124
Trying to negotiate a fair balance between the two communities will always prove to be an arduous task especially with the presence of the two “mother countries”. It seems that the only chance of a solution to the Cyprus problem will be when relations between Greece and Turkey improve to such a level that they are willing to be more co-operative with each other. The possibility of solution without this is remote as both countries look to maintain their attachment with their respective communities on the island.
Cyprus has had very little opportunity to dictate its own future due to both its importance as a military base for the British and the interference of the two “mother countries”, something which could have been avoided if the British authorities worked more closely with the two communities. The presence of two very different communities on the island can lead to a natural tension between the two sides, something which can be eased through appropriate reforms on education. If this were to occur during British rule before the 1950s then the troubles that arose may not have been so severe. An appropriate education system would have encouraged both communities to improve relations by promoting a single Cypriot identity while still acknowledging the cultural and religious differences of the two communities. While this would not have been an easy task the possibility still existed as inter-communal relations on the island were generally peaceful before the 1950s and had been for centuries. The British authorities however had little interest in educational reform on the island which allowed for two separate education systems on the island to be influenced by the influx of either Greek or Turkish textbooks, depending on which community the school represented. The British were more keen on maintaining stability and the status quo so that they could continue to use Cyprus as a military base for its navy. Reforming the education system could have reduced the influence of right wing elements within both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots communities.
The violence started on the island by EOKA had been conducted primarily against both the British authorities and their soldiers. The British response to the violence has had tragic consequences for both communities, as the inter-communal relationship deteriorated rapidly. There are numerous times whereby the British tried to maintain control through a policy of divide and rule. The situation in Cyprus changed quickly, eventually leading to direct attacks between the two communities. Distrust between the communities grew sharply due to the ill thought out actions of the British. The decision to tackle the Greek Cypriot protests by employing Turkish Cypriots is an example of this and is partly responsible for the upsurge of right wing extremism amongst both communities. The right wing elements of both communities were spurred on further by the support they received from the “mother countries”. The situation in Cyprus had enabled both Greece and Turkey to become move involved with the situation in Cyprus, the immediate future of the island would eventually be agreed upon by five different parties at the London and Zurich conferences. Cyprus gained its independence, but instead of being a day of liberation for Cypriots it was merely a compromise to bring an end to the inter-communal violence on the island. Independence would have brought about an opportunity for the two communities to not only rebuild relations but to also strengthen a Cypriot national identity.
Cypriot independence was however restricted by the implementation of the new constitution which discouraged co-operation and allowed distrust between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to continue. Negotiations on the new constitution were complicated by the presence of both Greek and Turkish delegation which looked to strengthen the rights of their respective communities. The fact that these two countries were allowed to be involved was an indication that Cyprus was always likely to be interfered with by the two external powers. A better compromise may have been reached had the British delegation simply mediated between the two communities on the island, instead they were merely concerned with securing their military bases on the island. The collapse of the constitution after just three years highlighted not only the flaws of the original constitution but also the sham of Cypriot independence as the proposed thirteen points was quickly rejected by the Turkish government. What followed was the resumption of violence on the island, the lack of trust between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots had been allowed to continue as the poorly designed constitution promoted separatism rather then unity. A new independent Cyprus could have been built on civic nationalism which would have helped to increase co-operation but both Greece and Turkey more interested in protecting the rights of their respective community rather then build relations.
The search for a solution to the Cyprus problem is hampered because it effects the national interests of so many different countries. This is despite the fact that the Cyprus Question on its own is not considered a major issue in global terms. When it comes to the interests of Cypriots themselves the effort focusses on limiting violence on the island, something which has been easier to achieve since the 1974 invasion. The strategic importance of the island to countries like Britain is one of the biggest reasons why the issue draws in international involvement. The presence of British bases on the island is important as they within close proximity of the Middle East, a region which both the West and the Soviet Union had been trying to expand its influence. The military bases were not only important to Britain but also the US as they were both allies and members of NATO, the priority for these two nations was not to rebuild relations between the communities but to protect their own national interests. Cypriot political parties like AKEL advocated the creation of civic nationalism but their communist ideology meant they would never win the support of the US government. The situation in Cyprus was not a worst case scenario for the US, they were more worried that a solution favouring Makarios and the Greek Cypriots would mean that Cyprus would come under increasing influence from the Soviet Union. Therefore the US did little to push for a solution that would help to unify the two communities. The international community on the whole failed to prevent the two ethnic communities from becoming two nationalistic communities, the long term consequence being that the divide between the two communities has increased significantly, making it even more challenging for UN mediators.
The partition of Cyprus was the direct result of the actions made by both the Greek and Turkish governments. Tensions on the island had decreased and although negotiations were still struggling to produce results the potential to build better co-operation between the two communities was on the increase. The Cypriot population was completely disregarded when the Greek Junta took the option of supporting a coup against Makarios resulting in the Turkish invasion. The Greek Junta viewed the Makarios government as being to moderate, this was despite the fact that he had gained the majority of the Greek Cypriots support. Their decision to launch the coup was reckless as it prompted the Turkish government to respond by invading Cyprus. The Greek Junta had gambled the territorial sovereignty of another nation by giving the green light for the attempted coup. The Turkish response was not however justified as there was little suggestion that Turkish Cypriots would be targeted by the new regime. It became clear that the real intentions of the Turkish government was not to simply remove the coup but to claim territory and forcefully partition the island. The coup itself collapsed within days of the Turkish invasion and had they opted to pull out then their actions may have been more appreciated but instead they have created a physical divide between two communities that only twenty years earlier had lived peacefully together in mixed towns and villages.
It is becoming increasingly less likely that Cyprus will be reunified as a single sovereign state, the Turkish presence in the TRNC gave Denktash the support he needed to remain uncompromising when negotiations resumed in 1975. The presence of the Turkish military and mainland settlers also restricts the Turkish Cypriots from offering any kind of concession which might help bring the two sides closer together. The Annan plan is an example of how the Turkish government, even today can influence the final proposals for a solution, generating a plan that is not seen as pro-Turkish by the Greek Cypriots is difficult when Turkish troops continue to occupy northern Cyprus. There is some hope amongst many that Cyprus successful accession into the EU and Turkeys desire to join the EU will mean that Turkey may be more willing to compromise in order to reach a solution in Cyprus, as it remains unlikely that they will be able to join without some kind of agreement which is agreed upon by both communities. Reducing the involvement of Greece and Turkey does not mean that the inter-communal relationship would suddenly improve to such a level that a quick solution would be reached. It will take years to rebuild the Greek and Turkish Cypriot relationship and within that time there would be little chance of them identifying themselves as just Cypriots. The international community has failed the people of Cyprus and the prolonging of the Cyprus problem has meant that reunifying the country may no longer be possible.
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