The Greek Tell-a-Tale

Prof. Dr. Ata ATUN

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 22 Haziran 2012 Saat : 11:14


The island of Cyprus was already divided in to two, far before 1974.

The physical division of Nicosia took place in 1956 when the is-land was under British colonial rule. Colonial Government erected a barbed wire division between the Greek and Turkish community in the city of Nicosia, known as the “Mason-Dixon Line” after the first inter-ethnic clashes. 

This was the maiden division of the city and plantation of the partition seeds in the island.

Later, in 1958, renewed and more protracted interethnic violence flared up and led once more to a division of the capital and the island. From that time onwards, both communities established separate municipal councils and the issue of whether the municipalities were to be separate or not was left open in the 1960 Cyprus Constitution.

In 1958, following the eruption of interethnic clashes and the proposal of a partitionist plan by the British Government, the Greek community, led by Archbishop Makarios, accepted a solution of limited independence whose basic premises had been elaborated in Zurich by the Governments of Greece and Turkey.

The constitution in particular, categorized citizens as Greeks or Turks. Elected positions were filled by separate elections. Separate municipalities were established in each town and separate elections were to be held for all elected public posts.

The posts filled by appointment and promotion, such as the civil service and police, were to be shared between Greeks and Turks at a ratio of 7:3. In the army this ratio rose to 60 to 40. The President was designated Greek and the Vice President Turkish, each elected by their respective community. In the House of Representatives fiscal, municipal and electoral legislation required separate majorities.

Since then the life styles of both communities in the island of Cyprus were already separated.

In 1963, after the Turkish members of the House of Representa-tives had rejected the one sided budget, aiming investments only to Greek sectors of the island, President Makarios decided to convert the bicommunal Cyprus Government into Unitary Greek Majority Govern-ment by violent force. In December 1963, as per the AKRITAS plan, which was designed by P. Yorgadgis, and T. Papadopulos on 1961, interethnic tensions rose artificially by the provocations of the Greek police and militia, and armed clashes broke out. Turkish civil servants were kicked out from their posts and Parliamentarians from House of Representatives.

The Cyprus Government of the Greek majority encouraged armed Greek civilians to take part in the clashes and in a very short period 103 Turkish villages were grounded and their inhabitants, who man-aged to save their lives, fled to Turkish enclaves.

The Turkish enclaves, which formed the roots of the division on the island, were only 3% of the total area of the island and was like an open prison. A Turkish Cypriot genocide was put in effect and freedom of movement, property ownership and employment was restricted to Turkish Cypriots from 1963 to 1974.

There are two communities on the island since than and they speak of themselves as Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Greek Cypriots belong to the Greek Orthodox Church, speak Greek and share the culture of their motherland Greece, whereas Turkish Cypriots are Moslems, speak Turkish and assume their motherland Turkey’s values. The two communities do not have the feeling of belonging to a Cypriot nation and they have been completely separated.  

The island was divided by the Greeks on 1963 and not by the Turks on 1974, as most of the people thinks so. 



June 22, 2012

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