History

ACTION CYPRUS

AN HEC PROJECT

The Turkish Goal of Taksim IV

 

THE COUP D’ETAT AND THE TURKISH INVASION OF CYPRUS JULY 1974

The coup ordered by Henry KissingerOn 15 July 1974 extreme elements nationalist of the National Guard led by its Greek officers launched a military coup with the objective of overthrowing the Government. The Presidential Palace was bombed but, for the third time Makarios escaped and was flown out of Cyprus by British forces. Nicos Sampson was installed as President. Sampson was well known for his paramilitary involvement, and as the owner of a news paper, with fanatical pro-Greek nationalistic leanings. The coup was, in essence, a short term civil war between Greek factions and was completely unrelated to the inter-communal issue which had been dormant for seven years. Indeed, the perpetrators of the coup went out of their way to tell the world that this was an internal Greek matter. The situation was now quite different to that of 1963/64. The coup involved only the Greek Cypriots and, as Denktash had acknowledged, the Turkish Cypriots were mere spectators.

Between 1967 and 1974 relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots had much improved, with no further incidents of violence by either government or paramilitary groups. The Turks moved freely around the island. The enclaves existed only to sustain the argument for separation, although about 6,000 Turkish Cypriots had drifted back to their homes outside of the enclaves by the early 1970s. Only four months before the coup, Denktash was invited to speak at a Greek Cypriot gathering of businessmen and professionals. There was a readiness on the part of various groups of both communities to take part in seminars organised to promote inter-ethnic understanding. The improvement in relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots is acknowledged, even by the most partisan of Turcophile commentators. It is therefore extremely difficult to identify a legitimate fear on the part of the Turkish Cypriot as a result of the coup. The only human victims of the coup were the Greek Cypriots.

Turkish bomberHaving received reports of an impending coup, the US State Department and Kissinger in particular chose not to prevent it, fuelling the allegations that it had tacitly supported it. Thomas Boyatt, the Cyprus Desk officer in the State Department warned consistently of a coup and the inevitable Turkish response. Boyatt had served as a diplomat on the island. He confirmed that the Junta was planning an attack on Cyprus. His pre-coup memoranda were classified as secret and have never been released. Indeed, after the invasion Boyatt was forbidden by Kissinger to testify before Congress, and finally did so only in order to avoid being cited for contempt. Evidence was only taken in executive session of Congress, so sensitive was it considered to be. In July 1974, even the Greek Cypriot daily Apogevmatini described in its editorial the impending coup to be carried out by EOKA-B. The US responded with a wait and see policy. After all, the outcome could well suit them, and it did. Five days after the coup Turkey invaded, and unlike 1964, there was no urging of restraint by the US State Department. There was now no need because the US-backed Junta would not go to war against Turkey without American consent. Turkish troops landed in Kyrenia in the early hours of 20 July 1974.

Turkish bombsFrom 1967 until the time of the coup in 1974, there had been no further recorded incidents of inter-communal violence in Cyprus. Turkey’s alleged legal justification for her invasion in 1974 was founded under article (iv) of the Treaty of Guarantee which permits intervention, but for the sole purpose of restoring the constitutional arrangements as laid down in the London-Zurich agreements of 1959, not for the purpose of over-throwing them altogether. The article is also silent about the use of armed force in this restoration as a result of unilateral intervention. The British, who had imposed themselves as one of the three guarantor powers, and in the defence of many having caused an inter-communal problem where one had existed by abusing the status of the Turkish-Cypriot minority, now decided to avoid their obligations under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. Having insisted on the treaty in 1960, Britain’s Foreign Secretary in 1974, James Callaghan, although greatly dissapointed by Kissinger’s attitude, abdicated all responsibility to US Secretary of State.

In response to the Turkish invasion, the Greek army attempted to mobilise, but the mobilisation never really got off the ground. In addition, in Cyprus Greek troops were repeatedly withdrawn by the officers from the front-line offering an unfettered line of advance to the Turks. It was almost as if the partition of the island was pre-arranged. The corruption and incompetence of the junta over the previous six years had taken its toll. Within a few days of the invasion, the junta in Athens collapsed, followed by its puppet regime in Nicosia. Power returned to civilians under Constantine Karamalis in Greece, while the Greek Presidency went to Glafkos Clerides, Makarios’ deputy. Constitutional order, under which Turkey attempted to justify her invasion, was now restored. The cease-fire arranged by the UN now simply acted as a respite to give Turkey an opportunity to consolidate her gains and bringing in massive reinforcements to complete her strategic contingent.

Turkish invasionIt is, however, very hard to find any legal justification for Turkey’s appalling violations of human rights in Cyprus as witnessed by the findings of the Council of Europe. We know today that thousands of Cypriot civilians were murdered or tortured. Many women and children still remain missing. Over 1,000 women were raped. How can this appalling brutality be justified by an attempt to restore a constitution?

Turkish parachutesFurther support for the argument that the Turkish Government’s real goal was not the restoration of constitutional order but sheer order, becomes apparent when looking at the Geneva peace conference called in the wake of the original July invasion.

Turkish soldiersOn 9 August 1974, when Turkey held only the narrow Kyrenia-Nicosia corridor, the Turkish foreign minister handed an ultimatum to the Greek Cypriot negotiator Glafkos Clerides demanding the immediate cessation of 35% of Cypriot territory to the Turkish army. When Clerides requested 36 hours to discuss it with his Government, not a wholly unreasonably request given the circumstances, his request was denied.

Greek Cypriots including civlians held captiveAs regards Gunes, Turkish negotiator, the demand was non-negotiable. Turkey then launched a second invasion on 14 August 1974, this time conquering 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. By then the Sampson regime had fallen, as had the Greek Junta. Following this second offensive begun on 14 August, Greek-Cypriot retaliatory action began against the Turks after the ethnic cleansing of Greek Cypriots from their homes had occurred, and the majority of the human rights violations were becoming known. In the village of Tokni, 69 Turkish Cypriots were killed and later found in a mass grave. In Aloa, 57 Turkish Cypriots were killed, while in Maratha a further 88 corpses were discovered in a mass grave.

ECHR in session on Turkeys crimes in CyprusFollowing the invasion a report was prepared by the Commission of the Council of Europe as a result of a complaint by the Cyprus Government. The report examines alleged breaches of the articles of the Convention of Human Rights of which each member of the Council of Europe (including Turkey) is a signatory. The following is the summary as printed by the "Sunday Times" on 23 January 1977:

 

KILLING Relevant Article of Human Rights Convention:- Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law.

Charge made by Greek Cypriots: The Turkey army embarked on a systematic course of mass killings of civilians unconnected with any war activity.

Evidence given to the Commission: Witness Mrs K said that on 21 July 1974, the second day of the Turkish invasion, she and a group of villages from Elia were captured when, fleeing from bombardment, they tried to reach a range of mountains. All 12 men arrested were civilians. They were separated from the women and shot in front of the women, under orders of a Turkish officer. Some of the men were holding children, three of whom were wounded.

Written statements referred to two more group killings: at Trimithi, eye-witnesses told of the deaths of five men (two shepherds aged 60 and 70, two masons of 20 and 60, and a 19 year-old plumber). At Palekythron 30 Greek Cypriot soldiers being held prisoner were killed by their captors, according to the second statement.

Witness S gave evidence of two other mass killings at Palekythron. In each case, between 30 and 40 soldiers who had surrendered to the advancing Turks were shot. In the second case, the witness said: "the soldiers were transferred to the kilns of the village where they were shot dead and burnt in order not to leave details of what had happened".

Seventeen members of two neighbouring families, including 10 women and five children aged between two and nine were also killed in cold blood at Palekythron, reported witness H, a doctor. Further killings described in the doctor’s notes, recording evidence related to him by patients (either eye-witnesses or victims), included;

         Execution of eight civilians taken prisoner by Turkish soldiers in the area of Prastio, one day after the cease-fire on 16 August 1974.

         Killing by Turkish soldiers of five unarmed Greek Cypriot soldiers who had sought refuge in a house at Voni.

         Shooting of four women, one of whom survived by pretending she was dead.

Further evidence, taken in refugee camps and in the form of written statements, described killings of civilians in homes, streets or fields, as well as the killing of people under arrest or in detention. Eight statements described the killing of soldiers not in combat; five statements referred to a mass grave found in Dherynia.

ECHR voteCommission’s verdict: By 14 votes to one, the Commission considered there were "very strong indications" of violation of Article 2 and killings "committed on a substantial scale".

RAPE Relevant Article:- No one shall be subjected to torture or to in-human or degrading treatment or punishment.

Charge:- Turkish troops were responsible for wholesale and repeated rapes of women of all ages from 12 to 71. Sometimes to such an extent that the victims suffered haemorrhages or became mental wrecks. In some areas, enforced prostitution was practised, all women and girls of a village being collected and put into separate rooms in empty houses where they were raped repeatedly.

In certain cases members of the same family were repeatedly raped, some of them in front of their own children. In other cases women were brutally raped in public.

Rapes were on many occasions accompanied by brutality such as violent biting of the victims, causing severe wounding, banging their heads on the floor and wringing their throats almost to the point of suffocation. In some cases attempts to rape were followed by the stabbing or killing of the victims, including pregnant and mentally-retarded women.

Evidence given to Commission:- Testimony of doctors C and H, who examined the victims. Eye-witnesses and hearsay witnesses also gave evidence, and the Commission had before it written statements from 41 alleged victims.

Dr H said he had confirmed rape in 70 cases, including:-

         A mentally-retarded girl of 24 was raped in her house by 20 soldiers. When she started screaming they threw her from the second floor window. She fractured her spine and was paralysed.

         One day after their arrival at Voni, Turks took girls to a nearby house and raped them. ? One woman from Voni was raped on three occasions by four persons each time. She became pregnant.

         One girl, from Palekythrou, who was held with others in a house, was taken out at gun point and raped.

         At Tanvu, Turkish soldiers tried to rape a 17 year-old girl. She resisted and was shot dead.

         A woman from Gypsou told Dr H that 25 girls were kept by Turks at Marathouvouno as prostitutes.

Another witness said his wife was raped in front of their children. Witness S told of 25 girls who complained to Turkish officers about being raped and were raped again by the officers. A man (name withheld) reported that his wife was stabbed in the neck while resisting rape. His grand-daughter, aged six, had been stabbed and killed by Turkish soldiers attempting to rape her.

A Red Cross witness said that in August 1974, while the island’s telephones were still working, the Red Cross Society received calls from Palekythrou and Kaponti reporting rapes. The Red Cross also took care of 38 women released from Voni and Gypsou detention camps; all had been raped, some in front of their husbands and children. Others had been raped repeatedly, or put in houses frequented with Turkish soldiers.

These women were taken to Akrotiri hospital, in the British Sovereign Base Area, where they were treated. Three were found to be pregnant. Reference was also made to several abortions performed at the base.

Commission’s verdict:- By 12 votes to one the Commission found "that the incidents of rape described in the cases referred to and regarded as established constitute "in-human treatment" and thus violations of Article 3 for which Turkey is responsible under the Convention."

TORTURE Relevant article:- see above under Rape.

Charge: Hundreds of people, including children, women and pensioners, were victims of systematic torture and savage and humiliating treatment during their detention by the Turkish army. They were beaten, according to the allegations, sometimes to the extent of being incapacitated. Many were subjected to whipping, breaking of their teeth, knocking their heads against walls, beating with electrified clubs, stubbing of cigarettes on their skin, jumping and stepping on their chests and hands, pouring dirty liquids on them, piercing them with bayonets, etc.

Many, it was said, were ill-treated to such an extent that they became mental and physical wrecks. The brutalities complained of reached their climax after the cease-fire agreements; in fact, most of the acts described were committed at a time when Turkish armed forces were not engaged in any war activities.

Evidence to Commission: Main witness was a school teacher, one of 2,000 Greek Cypriot men deported to Turkey. He stated that he and his fellow detainees were repeatedly beaten after their arrest, on their way to Adana (in Turkey), in jail at Adana and in prison camp at Amasya.

On ship to Turkey:- "That was another moment of terrible beating again. We were tied all the time. I lost the sense of touch. I could not feel anything for about two or three months. Every time we asked for water or spoke we were beaten."

Arriving at Adana:- "... then, one by one, they led us to prisons, through a long corridor .. Going through that corridor was another terrible experience. There were about 100 soldiers from both sides with sticks, clubs and with their fists beating every one of us while going to the other end of the corridor. I was beaten at least 50 times until I reached the other end.

"In Adana anyone who said he wanted to see a doctor was beaten.

"Beating was on the agenda every day. There were one or two very good, very nice people, but they were afraid to show their kindness, as they told us."

Witness P spoke of:-

         A fellow prisoner who was kicked in the mouth. He lost several teeth "and his lower jaw came off in pieces".

         A Turkish officer, a karate student, who exercised every day by hitting prisoners.

         Fellow prisoners who were hung by the feet over the hole of a lavatory for hours.

         A Turkish second lieutenant who used to prick all prisoners with a pin when they were taken into a yard.

Evidence from Dr H said that prisoners were in an emaciated condition on their return to Cyprus. On nine occasions he had found signs of wounds.

The doctor gave a general description of conditions in Adana and in detention camps in Cyprus (at Pavlides Garage and the Saray Prison in the Turkish quarter of Nicosia) as reported to him by former detainees. Food, he said, consisted of one-eight of a loaf of bread a day, with occasional olives; there were about two buckets of water and two mugs which were never cleaned, from which about 1,000 people had to drink; toilets were filthy, with faeces rising over the basins; floors were covered with faeces and urine; in jail in Adana prisoners were kept 76 to a cell with three towels between them and one block of soap per eight persons per month to wash themselves and their clothes.

One man, it was alleged, had to amputate his own toes with a razor blade as a consequence of ill-treatment. Caught in Achna with another man, they had been beaten up with hard objects. When he asked for a glass of water he was given a glass full of urine. His toes were then stepped on until they became blue, swollen and eventually gangrenous (the other man was said to have been taken to hospital in Nicosia, where he agreed to have his legs amputated. He did not survive the operation).

According to witness S:- "hundreds of Greek Cypriots were beaten and dozens were executed. They have cut off their ears in some cases, like the case of Palekythron and Trahoni ..." (verbatim record).

Verdict by Commission: By 12 votes to one, the Commission concluded that prisoners were in a number of cases physically ill-treated by Turkish soldiers.

ECHR vote"These acts of ill-treatment caused considerable injuries and in at least one case, death of a victim. By their severity they constitute "in-human treatment" in the sense of Article 3, for which Turkey is responsible under the Convention."

LOOTING Relevant article:- Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions.

Charge: In all Turkish-occupied areas the Turkish army systematically looted houses and businesses of Greek Cypriots.

Evidence to Commission: Looting in Kyrenia was described by witness C:- "... The first days of looting of the shops was done by the army of heavy things like refrigerators, laundry machines, television sets" (verbatim record).

For weeks after the invasion, he said, he had watched Turkish naval ships taking on board the looted goods.

Witness K, a barrister, described the pillage of Famagusta:- "At two o’clock an organised, systematic, terrifying, shocking, unbelievable looting started ... We heard the breaking of doors, some of them iron doors, smashing of glass, and we were waiting for them any minute to enter the house. This lasted for about four hours."

Written statements by eye-witnesses of looting were corroborated by several reports by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Verdict of Commission: The Commission accepted that looting and robbery on an extensive scale, by Turkish troops and Turkish Cypriots, had taken place. By 12 votes to one, it established that there had been deprivation of possessions of Greek Cypriots on a large scale.

OTHER CHARGES

On four counts:- the Commission concluded that Turkey had also violated an Article of the Convention asserting the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence. The Commission also decided that Turkey was continuing to violate the Article by refusing to allow the return of more than 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees to their homes in the north.

On three counts:- the Commission said Turkey had breached an Article laying down the right to liberty and security of persons by confining more than 2,000 Greek Cypriots in schools and churches.

Finally, the Commission said Turkey had violated two more articles that specify that the rights and freedoms in the Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any grounds, and that anyone whose rights are violated "shall have an effective remedy before a national authority."

The European Commission on Human Rights has outlined in great detail the actions of the Turkish armed forces and the treatment that it handed out to those Greek Cypriot civilians with whom it came into contact. 5,000 Greek Cypriot civilians were murdered, over 1,000 women were raped. Over 1,619 Greek Cypriots were abducted and remain missing, their whereabouts never disclosed by the Turkish authorities. The brutality the Turkish army brought with it was specifically designed to terrify the local Greek Cypriot creating 200,000 refugees.

Green lineBy 18 August the Turkish army had drawn a line (aptly called the Attila line) across the island, which remains to this day and follows the proposed line suggested in 1957 very closely. The long cherished aims of Kibris Turktur were partly fulfilled and there have been numerous calls since 1974 from Turkish nationalist groups to go on and "finish the job".

An ethnic group, which in 1964 owned about 12% of the land of Cyprus, had managed, by means of violence and manipulation, in gaining control of over 37%.

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.

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