History

ACTION CYPRUS

AN HEC PROJECT

The Turkish Goal of Taksim II

 

THE CRISIS OF 1963

From independence to 1963, it proved impossible to construct any basis of trust, and many areas of government were unable to function. The Cypriots found themselves in the position of not even being able to execute simple tax laws due to the way in which legislation was being used by the Turkish Cypriot leadership and their political mentors in Turkey. The Greek Cypriots claimed with some justification that the Turkish Cypriots were using partitionist and non co-operative tactics, which was made possible by the constitution itself.

It was against this background that the Akritas plan emerged as a political strategy to remove the restrictions imposed by the 1960 constitution, and to abrogate both the Treaty of Guarantee and the Treaty of Alliance, which allowed for armed intervention in Cyprus by Britain, Greece and Turkey, not unilateral intervention (but not by military action by any one state). President Makarios sought a way of breaking the deadlock in the administration and submitted for discussion, in accordance with the Akritas plan, 13 possible constitutional amendments. Copies of the proposed amendments were sent to Ankara for information purposes only since Turkey was a guarantor power. Yet even before the Turkish Cypriot leadership could reply, Ankara rejected the proposals as impossible, even as a basis for discussion, though the opinion of Turkish Cypriots had not been sought and this effectively ended the Akritas plan. Makarios had not referred to Athens before making his proposals, but was acting quite properly as the head of state of what was, after all, an independent state. Turkish Cypriot propagandists, however, cite the Akritas plan as proof of a Greek Cypriot plot to commit genocide against them, by somehow equating enosis, the subject of the plan, with genocide. This is clearly a nonsense; it was simply a constitutional framework devised to break a constituted social cohesion.

The inter-communal violence that followed was triggered on 21 December 1963 by an incident in Nicosia involving the shooting of a policeman. A police patrol car with Greek Cypriot officers driving down Hermes Street in the old city of Nicosia stopped a car for a routine check. Shots were fired and a young Turk was killed. The dispute that had been going on for the past three years relating to the way in which the constitution was operating, and the resultant tensions (all entirely of a political nature), now exploded into a spate of shootings which spread right across the island. On 22 December 1963 all Turkish Cypriot Government officials and politicians left their posts in a mass political protest. Overnight, all these individuals quit their jobs before any investigation had taken place. This organised reaction suggests that their actions were part of a pre-planned strategy in accordance with the tactics followed during the last few years.

Turks erecting a baracdeBetween 21 and 26 December 1963 the conflict was again centred in the Omorphita suburb of Nicosia, which had been an area of tension back in 1958. The participants now were Greek Cypriot irregulars and Turkish Cypriot paramilitaries, and numbers of civilians who were caught in the crossfire and chaos that ensued over the Christmas week. Both President Makarios and Dr Kutcuk issued calls of peace, but they were ignored. The two leaders met for the last time on 24 December 1963. Meanwhile, within a week of the violence flaring up, the Turkish army contingent had moved out of its barracks and seized the most strategic position on the island across the Nicosia to Kyrenia road, the historic jugular vein of the island. So crucial was this road to Turkish strategic thinking that they retained control of that road until 1974, at which time it acted as a crucial link in Turkey’s military invasion. From 1963 up to the point of the Turkish invasion of 20 July 1974, Greek Cypriots who wanted to use the road could only do so if accompanied by a UN convoy. It was, however, a baffling strategy for protecting the Turkish Cypriot minority. Again, this demonstrated the true motivation of Turkey.

The fighting over Christmas week 1963 saw numerous civilian casualties. Hostage taking emerged on both sides, as did acts of arson and murder. Although many hostages were returned, many remained missing, presumed dead. The worst incidents yet again occurred in Omorphita. False rumours were spread that some Turkish Cypriot patients were taken from Nicosia general hospital and killed by paramilitaries in order to provoke revenge. In Ayios Vasilios, on 12 January 1964, a mass grave was discovered which contained the bodies of 21 Turkish Cypriots who were presumed to have been killed in or near Ayios Vasilios on 24 December 1963. One of the most tragic acts of the period was the killing of the wife and children of a Major, Nihat Ilhan, attached to the Turkish army contingent. Their bodies were later discovered in the bath of their home. Hasan Kudum who was hurt but survived the carnage, when asked by his friends if those that came to kill them spoke between them Greek or Turkish stated: There were persons who spoke Greek and there were persons who spoke Turkish. Nihat Ilhan, believing that the Turkish nationalist MHP Grey Wolves were responsible went to Kenan Coskun, known as Bozkurt (or Grey wolf) and asked him: Has the organisation killed my family in order to secure the intervention of Turkey in the island? The answer given by Kenan Coskun and which bothered Nihat Ilhan was the following: Go and take revenge. He did not tell him from where to take revenge, writes journalist Sener Levent (Africa 28/8/2007). The tactics of TMT were now fully reaping their rewards. The casualty figures over that Christmas week in 1963 vary. British military sources on the ground estimate about 100 dead on each side.

A female TMT fighter leading Turkish Cypriots into fortified enclaveConsiderable fear was felt throughout the island and about 20,000 Turkish Cypriots left their homes. Much of this movement was spontaneous and hasty following some local incident of violence. However, once they had moved, many Turkish Cypriots were placed under heavy pressure by TMT not to return to their homes. Clearly, the necessary territorial basis for partition was being established.

Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots were displaced during the period of inter-communal strife in 1963 and 1964. A Liaison Committee was established, comprising of representatives of the three guarantor powers and the two communities. This established that in February 1964 5,500 Turkish Cypriots and 1,600 Greek Cypriots had been displaced because of the fighting. The UN Secretary General estimated that eventually 25,000 Turkish Cypriots moved from their homes to nearby villages/towns. It therefore appears that 5,500 Turkish Cypriots were displaced, and that a further 19,500 were moved on the directions of the Turkish military and Turkish Cypriot leadership.

A number of points are worth noting. The Liaison Committee consisted of representatives of Britain, Greece and Turkey and the Greek and Turkish communities. The first session took place on 29 December 1963, and was chaired by Duncan Sandys, Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, and subsequent meetings were chaired by the British High Commissioner Sir Arthur Clark. A sub-committee was given the task to examine the number of displaced persons, in its report of 1 February 1964, found that there were 5,500 Turkish Cypriots and 1,600 Greek Cypriots displaced. Yet, the UN Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council (15/6/64 Doc. S/5764) found that: `a large number of Turkish Cypriot villages from some villages with a mixed population, and from some very small Turkish Cypriot villages, moved out into more predominantly Turkish villages and towns.’ It appears that most of the Turkish Cypriots displaced were moved from their villages by the Turkish Cypriot leadership in order to back their policy of partitioning the island.

The partitioning of the island was not possible without segregation and movement of population, because Greek, Turkish and mixed villages were scattered around the island, with few concentrations of homogeneous population.

Fighting in Nicosia ended when British forces intervened at the request of President Makarios. The Green line was established between the Greek and Turkish quarters of Nicosia and became a permanent feature of the city. The demarcation of the capital was followed by the eviction of the entire Armenian community which happened to fall in the Turkish sector. The Turks believed that the Armenians were politically aligned with the Greeks and used this as justification for their forced expulsion. However, it was also a necessity in the long term goal of creating an ethnically pure Turkish zone.

Between January and August 1964 much of the violence that took place was of a sporadic nature. The size of Cyprus, with its customs and strong traditions, the news of an incident in one village would spread fear and apprehension to neighbouring villages. The most innocuous incident was capable of sparking off confrontation in this highly charged atmosphere. Two examples serve to illustrate this point. The first occurred in Ayios Sozomenos, an ethnically mixed village in the district of Nicosia. On 6 February 1964 the Greeks were attacked and two were killed. Retaliation followed by the Greeks, and seven Turks were killed in further clashes, as well as a further nine Greeks.

The second incident was triggered in Paphos where a Turk was killed by a sniper. The Turks retaliated and a heated exchange followed. Six Greeks and a Turk were killed. Further violence flared on the nights of 8/9 March when 14 Turks and 11 Greeks were killed. These incidents demonstrate that in an atmosphere as highly charged as that of Cyprus in 1964, shootings were triggered by the slightest prompting and could quickly escalate.

Most incidents were local and retaliatory in nature, usually a specific response to a particular incident. This is, for example, illustrated by the hostage exchange that took place in March 1964. Following numerous kidnappings and hostage taking, an exchange was organised on 7 March. About 225 Turkish hostages had been seized by Greek paramilitaries, of which around 175 had never returned, while about 41 Greeks remained missing. The exchange was designed to reduce tension, but in fact it had the opposite effect. Within 24 hours of the exchange a number of shooting incidents occurred throughout Cyprus. Again, revenge appears to have been the main motivating factor.

In Ktima, Turkish Cypriots took as hostages hundreds of Greek Cypriots who were shopping in the local market. The Turkish Cypriots claimed that their action was prompted by the reports of the Turkish Cypriot hostages who had gone missing. In total, 14 Turks and 11 Greeks lost their lives in Ktima. Inter-communal contact within Ktima virtually ceased. However, such confrontations, far from being a Greek Cypriot strategy to annihilate the Turks, were symptomatic of the fear which had spread all over the island. There is no evidence to suggest that there was anything pre-meditated about any of this conflict.

In mid-February 1964, inter-communal fighting intensified in Limassol which looked like provoking a Turkish invasion. This prompted Britain to appeal to the Security Council of the UN. Subsequently, on 4 March 1964, the Security Council passed a resolution to establish a peace keeping force in Cyprus.

By 27 March 1964 the first UN units arrived to take up official duties. Their arrival did not prevent the procurement of arms to Cyprus for both sides. Evidently, Turkish Cypriot nationalists were trying to increase the temperature. The Greek Cypriots formed a National Guard, and on 4 April 1964 launched an attack on the north Western coastal villages of Kokkina and Mansoura, where the Turks had established a bridgehead for the importation of arms and the landing of heavily armed troops from Turkey.

There was a violence pattern which was repeated throughout the island: arming Turkish nationalists and securing strategic positions for them; in the meantime, armed Greeks were bound to respond with force. Although Turkish Cypriots were sparse in the Kokkina area, they had nevertheless allegedly been led there in order to provide safety. The clear intention, however, was to establish an enclave to justify the opening of a salient within easy reach of Turkey. In the meantime, the most significant consequence of the conflict on the island was the return of General Grivas to head the newly formed National Guard, and to bring discipline to the Greek paramilitary irregulars. From this point on, Grivas and Makarios were increasingly at odds over policy matters. Grivas had always put loyalty to Greece above that of a commitment to Cyprus as an independent republic.

In August 1964, another major battle took place in the Kokkina Mansoura area. Fighting broke out on 3 August and continued until 6 August, during which the Turkish air force bombed Greek villages indiscriminately with napalm. The clash at Kokkina drew sharp attention to the realities of Cypriot vulnerability to the power politics of Turkey. A cease-fire was reached on 9 August and drew to a close this latest serious outbreak of violence.

The resulting casualties, however, give an interesting insight into these events. According to Turkish sources, the fights at Kokkina resulted in 53 Greek Cypriots dead and 125 injured. On the Turkish side, only 12 fatalities and 32 wounded are recorded. These figures reflect the degree of military preparedness on the Turkish side and again emphasise that the Turkish Cypriot strategy was one of occupying strategic positions to facilitate territorial gain through armed rebellion, although camouflaged in the language of minority protection.

By the time that the cease-fire was achieved, every Turkish enclave in Cyprus had become an entrenched position, protected by UNFICYP forces. Enclaves now existed in every major town except Kyrenia. In the Lefka area there were 8,000 well-armed Turkish Cypriots and 1,000 TMT fighters strategically positioned to join up with any landing near Xeros. The big enclave north of Nicosia almost reached the sea at Temblos in the Kyrenia district. At Ktima, the Turkish position overlooked the coast from a strong defensive position. The Larnaca enclave commanded a piece of coast ideal for the use of light landing craft. At Kophinou in the Larnaca region, Turkish positions controlled the main roads from Nicosia to Limassol and Larnaca. The Castle at St Hilarion to the Pentadactylos mountain which dominates the main road from Nicosia to the northern port of Kyrenia, was another strategic position where skirmishes occurred and which became a crucial Turkish stronghold. Military analysis suggests that on instructions from Turkey, Turkish Cypriots began deliberately to occupy these strategic areas in preparation for further conflict.

The creation of enclaves was also a flagrant violation of land property rights at the expense of Greek Cypriots.

Land Ownership by Ethnic Group:

Greek/Armenian/Maronite Cypriots 4,123,813 -> 60.9%
Turkish Cypriots 848,858 -> 12.3%
Others 32,120 -> 0.5%
State Land -> 26.3%

Source:Department of Lands and Surveys (refer to Annex 14 in Volume II of the"Memorandum by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus" submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons, 27 February 1987.

The table demonstrates in fact that the withdrawal of the Turkish Cypriots into enclaves was inconsistent with their ownership of land on the island. During this period of prolonged crisis in Cyprus, the Turkish Government forcibly expelled Greeks from Constantinople. The Greek Government, on the contrary, took no retaliatory measures against the Moslem minority in Greek Western Thrace. However, this did not stop the Turkish air force from harassing the Dodecanese (Rhodes) and Greek islands lying closest to the Turkish Aegean coast.

In Cyprus, the total reported number of casualties over the period 21 December 1963 to 9 August 1964 vary only slightly. Turkish sources estimate about 350 Turkish deaths and about 200 Greek fatalities. The numbers include deaths resulting from rogue paramilitary action, as well as from exclusively military confrontations.

Below is a set of rules issued by the Turkish Cypriot leadership to the Turkish Cypriots on 18 December 1964:

 

Turkish Cypriots not in possession of a permit are prohibited to enter the Greek sector.

1. Those who disobey the order with a view to trading with Greek Cypriots should pay a fine of 25 or be punished with imprisonment.

2. A fine will be imposed on:-

(a) Those who converse or enter into negotiations with Greek Cypriots or accompany any stranger into our sector.

(b) Those who come into contact with Greek Cypriots for any official work.

(c) Those who appear before Greek Cypriot courts.

(d) Those who visit the Greek Cypriot hospitals for examination or in order to obtain pharmaceuticals ....

3. A fine of 25 or other severe punishment and one months imprisonment or whipping should be imposed on those who enter the Greek Cypriot sector:-

(a) For Promenade.

(b) For friendly association with Greek Cypriots.

(c) For amusement....

 

This remarkable quarantining of the Turkish Cypriots from the Greek Cypriots was effected entirely by the Turkish nationalist leadership, since such a separation was needed in order to pave the way for the eventual partition of the island.

The murder of Dervis Kavazoglu in 1965 further illustrates the point. Kavazoglu was a Turkish Cypriot journalist and trade unionist who had criticised the enforced separation of the Turkish Cypriots and also the leadership’s policies. He and his Greek Cypriot friend, Costas Michaoulis, were on their way to Larnaca when they were both killed near the Turkish village of Lourougina. The are allegations that these murders were carried out on the instructions of the Turkish leadership. This again demonstrates that Turkish strategy was to divide the Greeks from the Turks.

Yet, by 1972 about 7,000 Turkish Cypriots, or 15% of the 46,000 strong Turkish Cypriot work force, worked outside the enclaves. The employment of Turkish Cypriots was closely controlled by the Turkish leadership and Turkish Cypriots needed a work permit. The stagnant Turkish Cypriot economy and rising unemployment in the enclaves were the main reasons for the decision to allow this policy. This demonstrates that the "from Turk to Turk" policy was never viable, but was simply a political nationalist ploy. It seems that Cypriots could work together amicably when it suited economic interests; but it was not possible when adopted for nationalist arguments by Turkey to advance the cause of partition.

The political significance of the enclaves far exceeded their size. The Turkish officers who were the real power behind the Turkish Cypriot throne, developed a highly militarised and rigid regime. The Turkish Cypriot leadership’s policies helped fuel the fear and suspicion which was necessary to maintain their position of authority. The UN Secretary General, U. Thant, was critical of the self-isolation policy of the Turkish Cypriot leadership. In effect, the Turkish Cypriots became hostages to the imposed policy of cessation dictated by TMT. It is now impossible to know what the true position of the majority of Turkish Cypriots was since their views were not sought and never publicly debated by their leaders. This treatment of the Turkish Cypriots by Turks as a political irrelevance continues to date. The lack of a genuine Turkish Cypriot voice, with the ability to put forward its own voice, rather than that of Turkey, is probably the greatest cause of the inability to resolve the Cyprus problem over the last three years.

1964 - 1966

Following the crisis of 1963 the island returned to general normality. The worst of the violence was over. The Turkish Cypriot paramilitaries had taken their positions and were determined to defend them, while the Greek Cypriot National Guard was obliged to take defensive positions in an attempt to prevent further no-go areas being created by the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriot enclaves by now covered about 2% of the island’s total area. Never at any time prior to the Turkish invasion Turkish Cypriots had occupied more than 12% of the total land of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots, however, declared their own administration and refused to recognise the Government of Cyprus as legitimate. Not surprisingly, the Government of Cyprus regarded the Turkish Cypriot position as one of rebellion.

The atmosphere on the island can be illustrated by the kind of incidents that occurred during these years. In 1965 there occurred 550 technical breaches of the cease-fire. However, a closer look reveals a total of only 26 casualties. 1966 saw far less shooting, and therefore even fewer casualties.

The Story Continued

Taksim Part 1: The 1950's - Terror campaign launched against Greeks

Taksim Part 2: The early 60's - Turkey provokes clashes and attempts to invade

Taksim Part 3: The late 60's - Turkey seizes strategic positions

Taksim Part 4: The Turkish invasion of 1974

American Duplicity Part 1: How America created the Greek junta

American Duplicity Part 2: Cyprus sacrificed for American spy bases

American Duplicity Part 3: A nation betrayed

American Duplicity Part 4: The CIA files

American Duplicity Part 5: Kissinger illegally abetted Turkish invasion

American Duplicity Part 6: US connived to facilitate Turkey

British Treason Part 1: How Britain masterminded Cyprus partition

British Treason Part 2: How Britain sabotaged a bi-communal agreement

British Treason Part 3: Turkish terrorists were armed by Britain

British Treason Part 4: The MI6 files

A grieving mother holding photos of her missing son.
1600+ men, women and children still missing

Greek Cypriots taken prisoner and transported to Turkey.
up to 70,000 held hostage in concentration camps

A Greek Cypriot napalmed by the Turkish air-force.
5000+ massacred

Greek Cypriots subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment.
thousands raped and tortured
200,000 ethnically cleansed

Christian gave stones smashed by the Turks.
500+ churches desecrated or destroyed

The murder of Tasos Isaac.
murders of refugees continue to this day

The murder of Solomos Solomou.

2001/2007 HEC and Argyros Argyrou. Updated on 28 February 2007.