History

ACTION CYPRUS

AN HEC PROJECT

British Treason II

 

BRITAIN SABOTAGES BI-COMMUNAL AGREEMENT

 

What was Papadopoulos’ role in 1960s bicommunal talks? 

Accussed of being both a Brit basher and schmoozing up to the government, MARTIN PACKARD attempts to put the record straight

First, honoured as I am to be referred to as a 'spook', I have never in fact been a spy or an 'intelligence agent'. While serving as a Royal Navy officer, I did have a three-year stint as intelligence adviser to NATO's Comedsoueast and to the UK's C-in-C Mediterranean, but I was acting simply as an analyst and the job didn't make me a member of the professional intelligence community. What it did do was give me access to diplomatic and intelligence reporting from throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, much of which I found to be either biased or inaccurate when it referred to areas of which I had personal knowledge.

Nor have I ever worked for the British Foreign Office, which will have been a matter of relief to that establishment.

I was sent by the Navy to Cyprus on January 6, 1964, solely because General Peter Young, who had just taken command of Joint Force (the original peacekeeping operation), had asked for the secondment of officers qualified as Greek-language interpreters, of whom I was one.

By General Young, I was mandated to lead, with officers from ELOYK and TUROYK, a I tripartite mediating initiative for the northern areas of Cyprus. I was assured by the general that I could consider my loyalties to be wholly committed to the Cypriot people, rather than to any ulterior British agenda, and I received very strong support from President Makarios and Vice-President Kutchuk and from most of the other key leaders in both communities. The initiative was bottom-up, starting at village coffee-shop level, whereby we acquired an intimate knowledge of all of the real problems of rural Cyprus. We worked our way through every instance of confrontation, finding solutions sometimes through local understandings and sometimes through negotiation with leadership figures in Nicosia.

The tripartite mediating process had remarkable success. It, rather than regular British army units, was principally responsible for turning back the anarchy that had momentarily enveloped rural Cyprus and for re-establishing working partnerships in every mixed area of the island. From there it moved on to island-wide projects.

The success of the initiative derived from the fact that it was wholly answerable to the Cypriot people (but could call on military support if needed), that it talked to people in their own language, that it was strongly supported by (and had private access to) the leaderships and key figures in both communities, that it had intimate knowledge of the real causes of dispute in every case, that it recognised the traumas, the insecurities and emotional ingredients of each situation that it faced. We were also able to feel out the limits to which re-engagement was possible and to establish quiet progress away from the glare of publicity or the interference of foreign interventionists.

The momentum that was created through the tripartite initiative could, if properly fostered, have led to a new bi-communal partnership under more realistic terms than were possible under the 1960 constitution. There were compromises available that could have been ring-fenced against extremism and foreign intervention and that would have satisfied the need of both communities for real security.

In early June 1964 agreement was achieved, with approval from the Organisation, the Secret Army, TMT and all relevant political and local leaders, for a return of the Turkish Cypriots to some of the mixed villages they had abandoned. This was not a solving of the Cyprus problem but it was a vital step forward. The plan required the provision by UNFICYP of escort and policing arrangements, for which I already had the go-ahead from the UN's mediating directorate.

General Young had been replaced in February (accused in London of being 'too pro- Cypriot') by the hard-line General Carver. As soon as Carver learned of the agreement, I was told to consider myself under open arrest: the following day I was removed unceremoniously from Cyprus (despite pleas from Makarios, Kutchuk and the UN that I stay) and my mediating operation was dismantled. Movement stopped in all those areas of communal re-engagement for which my unit had provided the interface and the glue.
I was told at the time by both UK and US ministers that I had exceeded my role and failed to understand that the NATO target was for communal separation.

My key Greek Cypriot contacts were not starry-eyed idealists but pragmatic men who were prepared to go forward from the disaster of Christmas ’63 and accept that the future well-being of Cyprus would depend on a workable bi-communal partnership in which their Turkish Cypriot co-islanders would feel wholly secure. My key Turkish Cypriot contacts believed that their culture and history could be preserved and their security and rights of equality safeguarded within an achievable arrangement that would build on a common attachment to a shared Cypriot future.

I hope that I am not, as you suggest, a traditional 'Brit-basher', nor am I a conspiracy-theorist. I do believe that Britain, like every other nation, will always seek to pursue its own interests. Unhappily for Cyprus, Britain considers that it has a special relationship with the Turkish army and one aspect of its policies in the eastern Mediterranean has frequently been the promotion of communal separateness in order to provide counter-balances or influence. I believe that since the 1960s there have been opportunities for Britain to promote a regional convergence between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus that were neglected in favour of traditional 'divide-and-rule' theory. I believe this neglect has been very damaging to Turkey and Greece as well as to the Cypriots and that Britain has failed to garner huge benefits that could have accrued from an alternative route. I also believe that it would not hurt the British government to apologise to the Cypriot people for its past contribution to communal division.

The British intelligence and military establishments wanted to hang on to the whole of Cyprus in perpetuity. Since the 1950s Ankara has repeatedly involved itself in the internal affairs of the island, claiming that its national security was at risk. The Greek-initiated coup d'etat of 1974 was run from a blueprint prepared, with US prompting, in Athens in 1964, when Greece was under democratic government. Cyprus has been subject to consistent interference and subversion from abroad. This is not to absolve Cypriot politicians of responsibility for their mistakes but it suggests that they should be careful of putting much faith in foreign planning for their future.
The events of early 1964 have never been clearly explained to the Cypriot public and have been grossly distorted by foreign commentators. The truth about them is essentially unifying rather than divisive.

The mediating process then, which came close to success, depended on two men, Tassos Papadopoulos and Fazil Kutchuk. Each was a Cypriot nationalist, rather than a Greek or Turkish one; but each was prepared to seek a new and workable partnership. Maybe it was a recoil from the abyss but no snide belittlement can alter the fact of what. they achieved, or sought to achieve, during the period that I was working with them. The conquering of violence and the survival of a great number of Turkish Cypriots stemmed from that co-operation and from the conciliatory efforts that were spearheaded by Papadopoulos: I say this not because of friendship or respect but as a witness to events in which I was involved.

I was asked some time ago by the Clerides government to create a record of the mediating process in 1964 and was helped with the expenses of doing so. The Turkish Cypriots also offered financial support. I hope the finished work will be a useful contribution to the national archive of Cyprus.

I was unhappy with the Annan Plan and with the Wilton Park conference because they seemed to me rooted in the concept of a permanence of communal separation rather than being helpful to the creation a framework for an 'organic' process of evolving re-engagement. Equally I am saddened to see such mudslinging between 'Yes' voters and 'No' voters, at a time when tolerance, mutual understanding and objectivity could pay real dividends. Annan 5 clearly had very serious shortcomings: the division between those who thought its faults made it unacceptable and those who thought that nothing better might become available needs to be bridged for the common good. The mutual demonising, eminently exploitable from abroad, surely needs to end otherwise Cypriots will lose another opportunity to be the deciders of their own future.

The events of early 1964 made me an optimist. They also made me a profound believer in the ability of Cypriots to resolve their own problems when given a suitable framework within which to do so.

Two weeks ago, Packard appeared on a CyBC interview programme where he was presented as a former member of the British Secret Services

Copyright Cyprus Mail 6 March 2005

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.

2001/2005 HEC and Argyros Argyrou. Updated on 6 March 2005.