CYPRUS HISTORY FROM 1960 TO 1974 (3)

Prof. Dr. Ata ATUN

 
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 29 Aralık 2007 Saat : 6:44


 

(b) Taxes: Since a majority vote of Turkish deputies in the House was needed to pass tax legislation, Turkish Cypriots sought to use this as leverage to force compliance over the 70:30 ratio, over legislation for separate municipalities and a more generous approach towards the grant of subsidies to the Turkish Communal Chamber.
As a result the colonial income tax law expired whereupon Makarios ordered that existing taxes should continue to be collected. In December 1961 the government at last came out with its own pro-posals, but whereas the Greeks wanted a permanent law, the Turks wanted it to be renewable annually, which would enable them to use their bargaining power each session. Since there was again deadlock, the personal income tax was abandoned by the House and the Greek Cypriots enacted it instead through the Greek Communal Chamber.
(c) The Cypriot army: The minister of defense, who was a Turkish Cypriot, proposed an army of five battalions, each composed of three companies. At the battalion level they should be mixed, but at the company level the units should be from one community or the other. The majority of the Cabinet decided that on the contrary the units should be mixed at every level. On this issue the vice president used his power of final veto. The president therefore decided not to have an army at all.
(d) Separate municipalities: Existing colonial laws had to be extended eight times while Greeks and Turks conducted a dialogue of the deaf about whether fresh legislation should establish separate municipalities as the constitution required and the Turks de-manded. In December 1962 the Greek majority rejected further continuation of the status quo. The Turkish Cypriot Communal Chamber then purported to confirm the position of the Turkish municipalities while the Council of Ministers fell back on a pre-1959 colonial law to replace all the existing elected municipalities by appointed development boards. The president offered Turkish Cypriots compensation safeguards but made it quite clear that he had no intention of implementing the provisions of the constitution which he regarded as opening the way to partition.
(e) The status of the vice president: Dr. Fazil Küçük complained that since he had an absolute veto over foreign policy, he should be told what that policy was about. Spyros Kyprianou, the foreign minister, was not, he said, showing him the papers. He objected strongly to Makarios adopting on his own a policy of non-alignment and going to the Belgrade non-aligned summit without his approval.

The record of the first three years of the new republic could not therefore be described as an unqualified success. The necessary re-straint on both sides if such a delicate mechanism of checks and bal-ances is to work or, alternatively, if by informal arrangements it is to be short-circuited, was absent. Already by the end of 1961 the Turkish language press was calling for an intervention by Turkey, Greece and Britain and the resignation of Archbishop Makarios over the income tax issue.

The question of whether President Makarios ever meant the 1960 constitution to work or whether from the outset his acceptance of it was a maneuver first to obtain independence and then to clear the ground for union with Greece is still highly controversial. As an archbishop he was predisposed to see the whole island as Hellenic. In both his capacities he took part throughout the remainder of his career in what is called “verbal republicanism,” namely the celebration of anni-versaries of heroic deaths during the war against the Britis with many references to his own fidelity to the cause for which they had died, specifically the cause of enosis. But to what extent and at what periods this sentiment was purely verbal it is rather difficult to say .

Certainly there are many Greek Cypriots who think that Makarios did for a time support the constitution until he concluded that, unless amended, it was unworkable. Turkish Cypriots rather naturally call attention to a confidential document called the Akritas Plan, which was later published in the Greek press. (Patris Newspaper, Feb. 7, 1967).
This, which is generally thought to have been circulated in great secrecy by Polycarpos Yorgadjis, the minister of the interior, lays down a scenario according to which the “negative elements” in the constitu-tion should be stressed in public while lavish use should be made of such internationally acceptable concepts as “self-determination” and “minority rights” to describe the case for amending it. By this means Cyprus would win control over her own institutions and thus effectively nullify the Treaty of Guarantee since the constitution it was to guar-antee would by then be no more.

The Turkish Cypriots had made some preparation for a break-down since they were determined that independence should not mean, as Rauf Denktaş put it, “a change of colonial masters for the worse.” But many of the Turkish Cypriot political leaders counted on the con-stitution to settle down. They were encouraged in this by the first Tur-kish ambassador to Nicosia, Emin Dirvana, who was a philhellene and who tended to discount the warnings of Denktaş, the president of the Turkish Communal Chamber of the era, who claimed through intelli-gence sources to know better. According to Denktaş, who was political adviser to the Turkish Defense Organization (TMT), most of that organ-ization had been stood down and there were only 40 active members in it when the fighting started.

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