By Prof. Dr. Ata Atun *
The Cyprus issue, which has been on the table for the last fifty years, did not begin in 1974, as Greeks and Greeks claimed, and Türkiye did not occupy the island. The Greeks’ and Greek Cypriots’ deceptive black propaganda tries to show that Türkiye invaded the island of Cyprus in 1974 for no reason, but the reality is far from that. If there is an intention to understand the Cyprus problem, it is necessary to know the facts thoroughly.
Let me postpone telling you about the terror and massacres inflicted on the island of Cyprus by the Greeks between 1950 and 1960 in order to realize the Enosis ideal, and instead summarize the process that began in 1974.
The Republic of Cyprus was founded in 1960 by the “Constituent Communities” of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. While Armenians, Maronites, and Latins were classified as minorities in the Constitution, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots were appointed as governing communities. Because the Greeks outnumbered the Turks, the Turkish Cypriots had veto rights at every stage of administration and decision-making, preventing the Greeks from managing the island alone with oppressive and restrictive methods through decisions they made on their own, and from annexing the island to Greece.
Throughout the process, Greek Cypriots were deeply troubled by the fact that the constitution granted Turkish Cypriots the right to participate in administration and sovereignty. To be able to rule the island on their own and annex it to Greece as soon as possible, they began efforts to “revoke 13 articles” in the Constitution that granted Turkish Cypriots the right of partnership.
To begin with, they proposed repealing the 13 articles of the Constitution that granted Turkish Cypriots the right to partnership. When Turkish Cypriots rejected this offer, they took it to Türkiye, one of the guarantors of the Republic of Cyprus. When Türkiye turned down this offer, they decided to change the constitution through armed force and gunpoint.
They planned an armed attack called “Akritas” with the assistance and planning of officers dispatched from Greece to exterminate the Turkish Cypriots in large numbers. On December 21, 1963, they began carrying out massacres by attacking Turkish Cypriots, the majority of who live in small villages on the island of Cyprus. Greece sent a 20,000-strong Greek Division to the island of Cyprus on January 1, 1964, in violation of international rules, with the goal of contributing to the annihilation of Turkish Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots banded together to defend themselves and tried to repel Greek attacks as much as possible.
As part of the Turkish Cypriot extermination plan, many Turkish villages were burned down, Turkish Cypriots were killed, and their properties, houses, fields, livestock, and grains were confiscated in the first half of 1964. They took a step back with Türkiye’s ultimatom after the big attack in 1967, but the social and economic bonding and fears of Turkish Cypriots persisted until 1974.
When relations between Makarios, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, and the Colonels’ Junta, which was in power in Greece, deteriorated, Greece staged a military coup on July 15, 1974, to depose Makarios.
The putschists overthrew the Republic of Cyprus and established a new state known as the “Hellenic Republic of Cyprus”. Then they declared that this state had been annexed by Greece.
Because the collapse of the Republic of Cyprus and the declaration of a new state on the island of Cyprus, as well as the declaration of the annexation of the island of Cyprus to Greece, were in violation of the Republic of Cyprus’s 1960 Constitution and international law, Türkiye intervened in 1974 to restore the Republic of Cyprus as a guarantor country.
This is precisely the context for Greek and Greek accusations that “Türkiye has occupied the island.” The accusation is entirely fictitious and serves no purpose other than to cover up Greek Cypriot’s and Greece’s own actions.
Following Türkiye’s legal and legitimate intervention in 1974, Turkish Cypriots migrated to the northern part of the island and established their own administration to protect themselves from Greek Cypriot attacks. The “Turkish Cypriot Federated State” was established in 1975 with the goal of establishing a “Federal State” jointly with the Greek Cypriots. When the second stage of negotiations, which began in 1977, failed to produce results for six years, due to the Greek Cypriots’ desire to dominate the island solely, Turkish Cypriots declared the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC) in 1983 in order to continue the Cyprus negotiations on an equal footing.
The Western world (particularly the United States and the European Union), which contends that Türkiye’s legitimate intervention is an occupation – in accordance with Greek theses – chose to punish Turkish Cypriots rather than recognize them. With their inhumane decisions in the United Nations Security Council, they isolated Turkish Cypriots from the rest of the world, severed ties with the other countries, and worked tirelessly to bring them under Greek control. Despite the passage of 48 years, Turkish Cypriots’ ties to the rest of the world remain severed. There are no direct flights. Commercial, economic, cultural, educational, sporting, and political connections are all disrupted. Thankfully, after 59 years, the “Organization of Turkic States,” an international community, accepted Turkish Cypriots as members, even if only as observers, with their own state’s name.
Worse, the United States, European Union, Greek Cypriots, and Greeks, who are proud to be the flag bearers of “human rights, democracy, and freedoms,” are working hard to cancel and disrupt Turkish Cypriot membership in the Organization of Turkic States.
This membership is critical for Turkish Cypriots because it provides access to the rest of the world. It demonstrates that Turkish Cypriots are no longer alone, and that they are part of the Organization of Turkic States, which produces more than a trillion dollars in services and goods, has a population of 170 million, and is attempting to become the sole military and political power in the region.
This is the Western world’s problem. They both attack Türkiye and make no attempt to hide their dissatisfaction with the TRNC’s visibility, fearing that they will not be able to dominate the Eastern Mediterranean on their own, under any circumstances, or have access to the existing oil and gas fields.
That is, the value and level of the Western world’s “concept of human rights, freedom, and equality” is clearly explained by the deceased British Prime Minister Churchill’s remark, “A drop of oil is more valuable than a drop of human blood.”
Of course, the main goal of the West under any circumstance…
* Prof. Dr. (Civ. Eng.) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. (Int. Rel.), Dean, Cyprus Science University, Political Advisor to the President of the State