Cyprus’ history from 1960 to 2008 (5)

Prof. Dr. Ata ATUN

 
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 22 Eylül 2012 Saat : 8:10


 

Todays zaman, january 5, 2008

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-130871-cyprus-history-from-1960-to-1974-5.html

 

 

In Nicosia the guarantors — Turkey, the United Kingdom and Greece — began to move over the Christmas week of 1963. The 650-man Turkish army contingent in Cyprus under the terms of the Treaty of Alliance moved out of its barracks and positioned itself astride the Nicosia-Kyrenia road in Ortaköy (Ortakeuy).

 

Turkish jets from the mainland buzzed Nicosia. The Turkish fleet set sail for Cyprus. President Makarios, by now alarmed that a Turkish army might indeed land, agreed that the British should intervene from the sovereign bases in order to avoid a worse situation. This produced a cease-fire in Nicosia, an exchange of hostages and the establishment of a “Green Line,” a neutral zone between the Greek and Turkish quarters in the capital which has existed till the present day. Turkish Cypriots expelled from their side of that line the entire Armenian community of Nicosia on the grounds that it had aligned itself with the Greek position.

What the guarantors did not do was carry out the one purpose for which they existed: the restoration of the 1960 constitution. The establishment of the Green Line brought peace to Nicosia, though not yet to other places, but it did not bring the fractured government together.Greek and Turkish Cypriot ministers remained on opposite sides of the line.

 

According to the Turkish Cypriot thesis, there was, from this time on, no legal government in Cyprus — only provisional bodies on both sides pending the establishment of a new legal order — the old one having been overthrown by force. Turkish Cypriot deputies and all the Turkish Cypriot civil servants were removed from their posts in Cyprus’ government by brute force and never allowed to return.

 

According to the Greek Cypriot thesis, there continued to be a legitimate and democratically elected government representing the great majority of the people which had, as many ex-colonial countries were doing, asserted its right to gain control of its institutions and had done so at a time, moreover, when the Turkish Cypriot vice president and ministers had willfully continued to absent themselves.

 

At a conference in London of the three guarantor states and the two Cypriot communities, Makarios demanded the termination of the 1960 agreements as unworkable and their replacement by “unfettered independence,” a unitary Greek government with freedom to amend the constitution. He offered the Turkish Cypriots minority rights, which as usual they rejected out of hand. The Turks said that the December fighting proved that the two communities should be physically separated. Consequently they demanded a fully federal state of Cyprus with a border between Turkish and Greek provinces known as the Attila line, which is not unlike the present cease-fire line, or, failing that, “double enosis” which would bring a frontier across Cyprus between Greece and Turkey themselves, both solutions that would imply a population transfer.

 

The London conference broke down with no chance of agreement. Greek Cypriots preferred to hold their position of being the only recognized government of Cyprus internationally and did not fancy sharing the power with Turkish Cypriots.While the cease-fire held in Nicosia, the British were unable to prevent Greek Cypriots from attacking Turkish Cypriots at Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos, causing widespread casualties and damage.

 

Turkey announced for the second time that her fleet was sailing for Cyprus and the British, desperately anxious not to get bogged down in another Cyprus conflict, insisted on the peace-keeping burden being shared. Aiming above all at preventing a clash between two NATO partners, but wanting to keep the dispute within the NATO family, the United States tried to organize a NATO intervention, but Makarios would not consider it. It was necessary after all to bring in the United Nations. By the March 4, 1964 Security Council resolution, UNFICYP (UN Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus) and a UN mediator were set up and despite a further severe Turkish warning, the danger passed. Makarios interpreted the UN resolution as recognizing “unfettered independence,” which he sought, and appointed Greek Cypriot ministers to take over the Turkish portfolios and the seized state to be the only recognized government of Cyprus.The UN force which was set up and remains till the present day was originally of over 6,000 men and is now [2008] about 750. It has always had a substantial British contingent, often over 1,000, but quite few at present, making it unusual among UN forces which normally exclude contingents from the permanent members of the Security Council.

 

It has achieved a good deal but not what was expected of it by either side since, as is usual with peace-keeping operations, it does not use force except in self-defense.The force’s main deterrent was its presence. By use of persuasion they were able to prevent many killings that would almost certainly have happened, but they could not be everywhere and they could not stop a determined attack. In the first few months the UN had the greatest difficulty in getting a purchase on events because there were repeated outbreaks of fighting in different parts of the island.

 

Since there was no Cypriot Army, President Makarios now formed a National Guard, Ethniki Fruro, introducing conscription and ignoring the veto of Vice President Küçük. Arms supplies came in from Czechoslovakia and a Greek general from the mainland took command.

 

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