History

ACTION CYPRUS

AN HEC PROJECT

The Turkish Goal of Taksim III

 

THE CRISIS OF 1967

The most significant event of 1967 in the SE-mediterranean was the downfall of democracy in Greece and its replacement by a military junta. It has frequently been alleged that George Papadopoulos, who led the coup, had been on the CIA pay-roll since 1952 and had acted as chief liaison officer between the KYP (the Greek subsidiary of the American CIA) and the USA. The US administration provided training and material to the anti-constitutional forces before the coup and became their protector for seven years after.

For Cyprus, however, the consequences were to prove catastrophic. The emergence of the junta marked the beginning of a severe deterioration in relations between Athens and Nicosia, a sad affair that culminated in the military coup against Makarios in July 1974.

Since the Second World War, the US had funded an enormous military complex in Greece, and almost the entire Greek officer corp received US training. Greece was at the hub of CIA activity for the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The Greek military even named their headquarters in Athens (the Pentagon) as a gesture of admiration.

Athens was the switching centre for all communications east and south of Greece, which had been received from the Middle East and Africa and then relayed to Washington. As a consequence, it was Washington who wished the Cyprus issue resolved, especially following the six day Arab-Israeli war, which acted as a timely reminder of how essential US facilities in Greece and Turkey were for the defence of Israel, as well as of NATO. The colonels agreed to meet officials of the Turkish Government, but no solution was found. In Turkey anti-Greek propaganda was yet again deliberately and cynically fuelled using protests over the alleged maltreatment of the Muslim minority in (Greek) Western Thrace. It is significant that the status of the Turkish Cypriots had improved to such an extent that Turkey was unable to continue to use this pretext. The enosis issue, however, became the chosen tool of the junta in its efforts to destabilise the Cypriot Government.

Against this background, a second major clash occurred in Cyprus on 15 November 1967. The Turkish Cypriot village of Kophinou is situated in the Larnaca area and sits on the junction where the road from Larnaca joins the road from Limassol. If cut, road communications would be disrupted and freedom of movement would be denied between the South-west and the remainder of the island. The appointment of a new Turkish officer in January 1967 to head the Turkish Cypriot paramilitaries heightened tension in the area. Known by his nom de guerre, Mehmet, a campaign of stopping traffic, altering road signs and a generally belligerent attitude aimed quite often at the local UN contingent was adopted by his paramilitaries. It was calculated to annoy, intimidate, and precipitate all but the Turkish Cypriots.

Turkish paramilitaries occupied positions on the high ground above Ayios Theodoros, the neighbouring village to Kophinou. By the Summer of 1967, the Greeks of Ayios Theodoros began to experience difficulties getting to their part of the village which could only be reached by travelling through the occupied Turkish sector. Whilst this was going on, the Greek Cypriot police decided to suspend their patrols in order to avoid any increase in tension. In September, Mehmet assaulted a UN major and was relieved of his command. The police then sought to resume their patrols, but were prevented from doing so by the Turkish paramilitaries. The tension imported by Mehmet, however, did not leave with him.

There followed two months of protracted negotiations in an attempt to restart the patrols which had taken place since the early 1960s and had only temporarily been stopped. UNFICYP agreed on the resumption of the patrols, and by mid October the UN Secretary General himself was becoming impatient at Turkish prevarication, which was clearly emanating from the Turkish leadership, and complained bitterly at Turkish Cypriot behaviour. The possibility of another no go area was unacceptable to the Cypriot Government, especially in view of the strategic significance of the junction of the Larnaca-Limassol road.

On 27 October 1967, the UN Secretary General was therefore driven to make a personal appeal to the Turkish Government, asking them to co-operate with the UN authorities in Cyprus in order to restore freedom of movement in the Kophinou area. However, his pleas were met with an obstinateness and stubbornness that has characterised Turkey’s involvement in Cyprus ever since. There followed more prevarication and on 13 November 1967 the UN met with the Cyprus government, followed on 14 November by two police patrols moving through the area. They completed their patrol unhindered. The following day, however, another police patrol following the same route was shot at by Turkish-Cypriot nationalists.

The National Guard, by this time joined by Grivas, retaliated, as the Turks knew they would, and the result was a battle which went on through the night. On 16 March, inevitably, the National Guard and the police were withdrawn. However, by then the death toll amounted to 22 Turkish casualties and one Greek. This event was isolated and did not escalate into island wide violence, as had been the case in 1963/64. This episode has since been described by Turkish propagandists as a "genocide" committed against the Turkish Cypriots. The sad reality is that it had been deliberately instigated by Turkey, who was by now playing with the lives of the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish response was immediate and pre-meditated. Turkish war planes made sorties over Greek Thrace and troops were concentrated on the Greco-Turkish border. Yet again, the threat of war and a danger to the cohesion of NATO’s southern flank emerged.

There followed an intense period of American shuttle diplomacy by President Lyndon Johnson’s envoy Cyrus Vance. The outcome was the presentation of a set of stiff demands on the Greek Junta by the Turkish Government. The result was the Junta’s agreement to virtually every Turkish demand. The colonels agreed to withdraw Grivas and all their excess troops who had entered Cyprus. Significantly, no Turkish troops from the inestimable number who had also joined the Turkish contingent since 1959 left the island. Any economic restrictions were also withdrawn from the Turkish enclaves, a gesture not reciprocated by the Turkish side, who continued to maintain their road blocades.

The political repercussions were devastating for the Greek Cypriots. The island was now virtually undefended and any threat of invasion could only be met by token resistance. The Turks could see that the Greeks were unable to use their numerical strength to establish government control over the whole island, and that Greece was unwilling to risk a war, whatever the outcome. This assured, the Turkish Cypriots proceeded to declare their "separate Turkish administration" on 29 December 1967 over those areas under their control. A few Turkish Cypriot lives had given Turkey the perfect pretext to begin its incremental annexation of Northern Cyprus.

Although the crisis had now passed, the relationship between Athens and Nicosia had irrevocably changed. From this point on the Greek military junta became convinced that the `Cyprus problem’ could only be solved by eliminating Makarios, because the price of a settlement with the Turks would inevitably be beyond anything Makarios would accept. The junta, anxious to appeal to its US masters, wanted a solution acceptable to Turkey, and this would involve some form of partition. On 12 January 1968, Makarios declared enosis officially no longer feasible. The tilt towards the acceptance of independence as the new reality was now given unambiguous official approval. Makarios followed this declaration by an election victory, in which he received 96% of the vote, an increase of 32% over the 1960 election due to communist support.

The political problem now emerging was how to present an agenda which could deal effectively with democratic imperative (Cyprus had had a legitimate communist party and a new socialist party) while making clear Cyprus’s disinterest to the Greek dictatorship.

Cyprus knew, however, that it was only a matter of time before Turkey chose to invade and complete its objectives. The primary function of the officer corp was to erode the authority of the Cyprus Government, rather than to plan for the defence of the island against the expected Turkish invasion. Indeed, given the seven year notice Cyprus had of Turkey’s intention to invade, it is remarkable that no coherent defence strategy was adopted. The Greek colonels saw this as the achievement of a common front with its NATO ally Turkey against communism. Any resistance on the part of the Cypriots to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of their state was branded anti-enosist and anti-Hellenist.

The Stroy 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.

2001/2002 HEC and Argyros Argyrou. Updated on 8 September 2002.