Our story starts with this short film, which was an initiative of the Committee of Cyprus Occupied Municipalities, portrays the destruction of the cultural heritage of Cyprus by Turkey that has been taking place in the northern part of Cyprus since the Turkish military invasion in 1974.
The 1974 war in Cyprus was a result of a bi-communal violence started when the Greek majority wanted to unify the island with Greece, something that was not a desire for the Turkish Cypriots. During the last 10 years before the events of July 1974, were marked by bi-communal violence, Greeks fled from Turkish majority villages,Turkish fled from Greek majority villages, houses burnt, greek militia that wanted the unification with Greece killed a lot of Turkish Cypriots as well and even greeks who insisted for an independent state . Massive graves of Greek or Turkish bodies are dispersed into the island and some of them still remain to be found.
Even if Turkey bears the sole responsibility for the present condition of hundreds of archaeological and religious monuments in the occupied areas: hundreds of religious monuments have been desecrated, looted or demolished; a significant number of churches have been converted into mosques, stables, dance studios, storehouses and one of them has become a morgue we must search further to see what caused the war.
Moreover, several archaeological places that were famous and recognized throughout the world were destroyed or illegally excavated while a great number of antiquities were smuggled and remain unfound until today.
The international community agrees that the status quo is not acceptable and has called for an end to the arms race which has turned the island of Aphrodite into one of the most heavily militarized pieces of real estate in the world.
Greek Cypriots have long believed the Americans were to blame for failing to prevent the bloody events of 1974, which left the island “ethnically cleansed” long before the phrase was conjured up.
Back in 1999, In Washington congressmen demanded to know why their country, as the main supplier of arms to Greece and Turkey, both Nato partners, was allowing one country to usurp democracy in a friendly state and the other to occupy a slice of its territory, bringing both to the brink of war. In London MPs cross-examined foreign secretary James Callaghan on why Britain, as a guarantor of Cyprus’s independence,was asking why the UK with two military bases, numerous spying facilities and thousands of troops on the island, took no military action to prevent the crisis. But no one could cut through the shroud of secrecy that descended on the subject. MPs concluded: “The full truth will never be known unless, and until, all official papers of the period can be seen.” These papers came out in 2007.
Britain won Cyprus as part of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire in 1914 and in 1925 it became a Crown colony. But by then, Cypriots had had enough of being a pawn for superpowers and started agitating for independence. Many Greek Cypriots wanted enosis, unification with Greece. By 1950, the Cypriot Orthodox Church and 96% of Greek Cypriots wanted enosis. In response, Britain proposed a new constitution, accepted by the Turkish minority, but opposed by the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters, who wanted enosis or nothing. So began a drawn-out guerilla struggle against the British.
In 1960, Britain granted Cyprus its independence, which the book reveals as a sham.
In the geopolitical context, the Suez crisis was a significant marker of Britain’s post war weakness. Britain found itself economically and militarily weak, and withdrawing from Suez, was forced to seek the help of the US. Eventually, British control of Cyprus and the Middle East would end up being handed over to the US on a silver platter.
The book Cyprus Conspiracy understates American animosity towards the remnants of British Empire, saying, “though they had been ambivalent towards the British Empire in the past, the Americans believed that, in many areas, such as the Middle East, the British performed important security functions that no other nation could take over”.
Nonetheless, it continues, “Britain had secured for itself an extraordinary array of military facilities and rights on (Cyprus) which, under the terms of the Treaty of Establishment, the British could not hand over to Washington if they pulled out.”
Despite its waning power, the motives for British involvement are set out with admirable simplicity and directness as early as page 7 of the book, quoting Anthony Eden – “No Cyprus, no certain facilities to protect our supply of oil. No oil, unemployment and hunger in Britain. It is as simple as that.”
The role of the United States caused the Ultimate war of 1974 in Cyprus
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger pushed for the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and allowed arms to be moved to Ankara for an attack on that island in reaction to a coup sponsored by the Greek junta which was supported by the United States, according to documents and intelligence officers with close knowledge of the event.
In 1967, using a NATO plan to protect Greece against a communist invasion, a handful of junior officers led by Colonel George Papadopoulos, fearful of the upcoming election and the rise of the left, overthrow the Greek government and declare martial law. The US and the Uk respective governments does not take long to recognize the dictators as the legitimate Greek government, Just one week after the Junta’s coup d’état in Greece.The British are not so easily convinced and take an extra day before they recognize the Junta as well. The Americans continue the massive military and economic aid to go with a growing military presence in Greece.
Since the Cyprus troubles began in 1963-64, the U.S. had been determined to get rid of President Makarios, seen by Washington as the major obstacle to such a deal. The U.S., a country based on the separation of church and state, had a visceral dislike for Archbishop Makarios because he was a cleric in politics. He also drew electoral support from the communist Akel Party while the Cold War raged on the international scene. He was non-aligned, thus immoral in Washington’s eyes. He was a friend of the Arabs, while the U.S. backed Israel. And Makarios was an enemy of Washington s junta friends in Athens who, according to Peter Murtagh, had allowed Israeli planes to use a U.S. base in Crete to launch the air strikes on Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian air fields that decided the outcome of the 1967 war before Arab and Israeli troops came together on the ground.
Henry Kissinger said then about the Greek- Turkish bicommunal tensions: “If the elected civilian authority (and spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox community) is the “proximate cause” of the tensions, then his removal from the scene is self-evidently the cure for them.” By 1974 the tension between the junta’s new leader, Brigadier Ioannides, and Makarios was spiralling out of control. Junta’s sponsor the US had to come to the rescue or made a big plane for the whole Greece- Turkey- Cyprus issues?
In actual fact Makarios was never pro-Soviet. Even though both before and after 1974 he accepted AKEL’s (communist party of Cyprus pro-Russian) support, he persistently tried to limit its influence on the political scene. Linking Makarios to the “Soviet danger” was a miscalculation by Kissinger who, in focusing on the small picture, lost sight of the big one which was the Soviet Union moving closer to Turkey. By attempting to marginalise Makarios after the invasion, Kissinger was inadvertently pushing him ever closer towards Moscow. Kissinger behaved arrogantly towards the Cypriot president, who resisted by stirring up sustained anti-American sentiment. Once Kissinger left power, Makarios revised his entire policy vis-à-vis the United States.
According to the Guardian, we can read from Kissinger’s own record, as well as from the record of the subsequent official inquiry, easy to demonstrate that he did have advance knowledge of the plan to depose Makarios. He admits as much himself, by noting that the Greek dictator Dimitrios Ioannides, head of the secret police, was determined to mount a coup in Cyprus and bring the island under the control of Athens.
Since Kissinger himself tells us that he had always known or assumed that another outbreak of violence in Cyprus would trigger a Turkish military intervention, we can assume in our turn that he was not surprised when such an intervention came. Nor does he seem to have been very much disconcerted.
On March 8, 1970, Makarios’ helicopter was was hit with bullets in an assassination attempt also linked to the CIA and the Greek Colonels junta in Athens. Kissinger, at the time, served as Nixon’s National Security Adviser.
In his book “The United States and the Making of Modern Greece, History and Power, 1950-1974”, American historian James Miller supports that the State Department knew what was going to happen: Kissinger was actually informed about the actions of Grivas, leader of EOKA ’B, who in co-operation with Athens’ colonels planned the July 15th coup d’etat against Archbishop Makarios. These events eventually led to the Turkish invasion and island’s division.
According to Cypriot journalist Makarios Drousiotis, Mr.Kissinger constructed his strategy on the Soviet threat. But, in fact, he knew that there wasn’t any serious interest from the side of Moscow – apart from verbal support of lawfulness in the island. Drousiotis, a correspondent for the Greek daily ’Eleftherotypia’, has presented a very interesting document of a conversation between Henry Kissinger and the Soviet ambassador in Washington Anatoly Dobrinin, just after the coup against Archbishop Makarios on July 1974: When ambassador Dobrinin says that “there are information that the British and the Turks are planning to do something (regarding the situation in Cyprus)” Kissinger replies that “we (the US) know for sure that Turkey is not going to do anything”. Miscalculation, diplomatic mistake or just pure lies?
In any case, Drousiotis successfully comments that Kissinger was actually trying to avoid the “internationalization of the Cyprus case” and therefore was seeking a U.S. – U.S.S.R. regulation on the issue. Furthermore, the perspective of Turkey’s withdrawal from NATO was a nighmare for the then leader of U.S. diplomacy. Mr.Kissinger himself had expressed that fear during a discussion with Archbishop Makarios on October 2, 1974 in Washington D.C. (Eleftherotypia, 12 August 2009).
From the book “The Cyprus Conspiracy” by Brendan O’Malley and Ian Craig, we know that on July 15, 1974, Makarios’ Presidential Palace in Nicosia was hit with artilley fire from tanks while Makarios was greeting a group of young schoolchildren from Cairo. Makarios’ Presidential Guard fought the coup plotters off for several hours until the rebellious troops stormed the building and set fire to it. The CIA saw to it that Cyprus Radio broadcast the news that Makarios was dead.
It was a replay of Santiago, Chile and the anti-Allende coup the year before. Both events had Kissinger’s sordid fingerprints on them. Although Kissinger denied it, he has denied almost everything that shows him to be an arch war criminal, it was widely known that he believed Makarios to be the “Castro of the Mediterranean.”
According to the US official documents released in 2007 by of highly Central Intelligence Agency reports from the 1970’s, known collectively as the “Family Jewels,” says the following:
“In all the world the things that hurt us the most are the CIA business and Turkey aid,” Kissinger declares in one of those documents, a White House memorandum of a conversation from Feb. 20, 1975. On the surface, the comment seems innocuous, but the context as well as the time period suggests Kissinger had abetted illegal financial aid and arms support to Turkey for its 1974 Cyprus invasion.
In July and August of 1974, Turkey staged a military invasion of the island nation of Cyprus, taking over nearly a third of the island and creating a divide between the south and north. Most historians consider that Kissinger – then Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to President Gerald Ford – not only knew about the planned attack on Cyprus, but encouraged it.
THE UNITED States vetoed Britain’s intervention in the Turkish invasion to protect its spying bases in northern Cyprus, former British Prime Minister Lord Callaghan has revealed in an interview to a British paper.
This is the first time that America’s use of spy bases in Cyprus has ever been confirmed, and the issue was raised in the British House of Commons.
In the interview, published in the Times Higher Education Supplement back in 1999, Lord Callaghan confirmed that Britain had almost gone to war with Turkey over Cyprus. He was asking why the UK as a guarantor of Cyprus’s independence, with two military bases, numerous spying facilities and thousands of troops on the island, took no military action to prevent the crisis.
He said that although Britain had sent a task force in 1974, the Americans vetoed any military action that might have deterred Turkey.
He implied that this was because the US did not want to jeopardise its electronic spying facilities in northern Cyprus and admitted the invasion left the US free to continue spying on Russia and the Middle East from a ‘state’ it did not recognise.
“The Turks were willing to let the Americans carry on operating because their presence was a political safeguard against the Russians,” he said.
In 2007, with the revealing of US- confidential articles we learnt that when Turkey invaded Cyprus in July 1974, Kissinger was only concerned about the continued operation of U.S. intelligence bases in Turkey and three in the presently under Turkish military control and occupied north zone of Cyprus: Yerolakkos, Mia Milia, and Karavas.Eventually, these listening stations were evacuated in 1975 by CIA agents and U.S. Marines.
Callaghan revealed that:
” Drawing on interviews with key players and hundreds of State Department, CIA, Foreign Office and British defence papers, I discovered crucial evidence that suggests that Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was no failure of American foreign policy but the realisation of a long-held plan to divide the island – to save top-secret defence and spying facilities from a potential communist take-over.
Curiously, the Americans never discussed with the British arrangements to defend their own intelligence facilities on Cyprus – which have not been publicly acknowledged before. Yet, in an astonishing revelation, Callaghan confirmed not only that the American bases existed, but that, during the invasion, the Turks advanced to a line, drawn up on maps used by Britain, Turkey and Greece, that left the major British facilities intact in the south – and the American ones in the north.
Nonetheless, a former CIA officer who was working in Turkey at the time, suggests that Kissinger’s statement in the memorandum about Turkish aid likely means the Ford administration, following Kissinger’s advice, conducted business under the table with right-wing ultra-nationalist General Kenan Evren, who later dissolved Parliament and became the dictator of Turkey in a 1980 coup.
According to estimates at that time, in the first six months after the coup, the regime put 123,000 political prisoners behind bars, carried out numerous death sentences, including 460 “executions” during “military operations,” and tortured to death at least 50 people in its dungeons. In the far-off Kurdish provinces of south east Anatolia, where martial law was imposed two years before by the military , rapes, torture and executions were carried out, including sometimes in public, to intimidate political opponents. In those regions, the military banned the use of the Kurdish language and Kurdish names. Thousands of Kurdish villages—and sometimes even children—were re-named.
The West supported the uniformed executioners and torturers primarily for geo-strategic reasons, bound up with the Cold War. Positioned as a bridgehead to the Caucasus and Central Asia—at the south flank of the Soviet Union—and the Middle East, Turkey was one of NATO’s most important bastions. Its significance increased even more when the Shah’s pro-Western puppet regime was toppled in Iran by a popular uprising in February 1979, and when Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan that same year.
“The implication is that the US government was dealing directly with General Evren and circumventing the [democratically elected] Turkish government,” the former CIA officer said. “This was authorized by Kissinger, because they were nervous about Ecevit, who was a Social Democrat.”
“We technically cut off military aid for them,” the officer added, referring to an arms embargo passed by Congress after the invasion. “Technically… technically, but this would imply that the military and/or probably CIA aid continued even after the aid was cut off by Congress. This may substantively be what led to the overthrow eventually of Ecevit.”
According to the former CIA officer, Turkey’s democratically elected President Ecevit had good relations with the Johnson administration, but the Nixon administration, where Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, had issues with Ecevit.