[MGSA-L] File of Cyprus puts invasion blame on junta

June Samaras june.samaras at gmail.com
Wed Apr 20 20:36:12 PDT 2011

File of Cyprus puts invasion blame on junta
By Elias Hazou Published on April 20, 2011


THE GREEK junta, egged on by circles in NATO, was primarily
responsible for the 1974 ‘twin crimes’ against Cyprus: the coup and
the Turkish invasion, the File on Cyprus, released into the public
domain yesterday, concluded.

The full report, compiled by a special House committee, has been
posted on the Parliament’s website (www.parliament.cy/). It covers the
period 1967 to 1974 and the events leading up to the coup against then
President Makarios, and the Turkish invasion.

Heavy on conjecture, the report does not apportion any criminal or
other liability for the coup that toppled Archbishop Makarios, as this
was not part of the parliamentary committee’s terms of reference.

Yet its wording unmistakably puts the blame squarely on the military
dictatorship that ruled Greece in the 1960s and 1970s. The junta, as
it is more popularly known, is said to have consistently undermined
Makarios and Cypriot independence from the outset.

“A fundamental policy in various circles in Athens was the prevention
of any Soviet influence over Cyprus. This would be achieved through
the imposition of a solution that would consolidate NATO interests on
the basis of a two-way Enosis [i.e. partitioning Cyprus, giving one
part to Turkey and one part to Greece], but there was lack of
awareness of Turkey’s broader strategic objectives,” the report

“To that end, Archbishop Makarios needed to be removed from power as
he stood in the way of this policy. His removal would come about
either via his voluntary withdrawal from the presidency (naturally
following pressure) or via a violent overthrow.”

Friction between Athens and Nicosia over who should have had the last
say in matters concerning Cypriot security led to strained relations
that worsened with time, while external players (such as the United
States and NATO) played a key role in influencing Greek
decision-making, the report states.

It cites a Greek Foreign Ministry document that is said to “confirm
that Greece and Turkey had discussed the prospect of working together
with the aim of toppling Archbishop Makarios and of imposing a
pro-NATO solution for Cyprus.”

However nowhere is this document – which would lend credibility to the
claim – referenced, nor is a copy of the original displayed in the
report’s annexes; and it’s not entirely clear whether the authors are
relying on secondary sources.

The report essentially preserves what is now conventional wisdom,
namely, the belief that Cyprus was “betrayed” by Greece in
collaboration with elements in the Cypriot National Guard.

It highlights, for example, the fact that Turkish forces were
conducting large-scale drills off the Bay of Mersina as early as April
1974, after which they were on heightened alert. The report notes that
these wargames were being monitored by Cypriot intelligence, but the
information was apparently not passed on to where it mattered.

Among others, the File draws on material from declassified documents
of the British Foreign Office and the US government, as well as on
material from the Cypriot Secret Service, National Guard and police
archives, personal diaries, and the testimony of people summoned
before the House committee.

In total, 174 people testified before the committee, although they
were not obliged to do so under oath. An additional seven persons were
summoned but did not show up, for the main part members or associates
of the EOKA B organisation.

The House committee spent some €400,000 of taxpayers’ money during the
years 2007 and 2010.

Some of the persons listed as testifying had been interviewed prior to
2006 when the current parliamentary committee, under these terms of
reference, commenced work. They include such names as: Tassos
Papadopoulos, Glafcos Clerides, Vasos Lyssarides, Spyros Kyprianou,
Takis Evdokas (Makarios’ opponent in the 1968 presidential elections),
Nikos Koshis, radio-show host Lazaros Mavros, Patroclos Stavrou
(Under-Secretary to Makarios during the period in question) and Vera
Sampson, wife of Nikos Sampson.

The annexes include material such as Makarios’ speech before the UN
Security Council on 19 July 1974, four days after the Greek-backed
coup against him. In the speech, Makarios appeals to the Security
Council “to do their utmost to put an end to this anomalous situation,
which was created by the coup of Athens. I call upon the Security
Council to use all ways and means at its disposal so that the
constitutional order in Cyprus and the democratic rights of the people
of Cyprus can be reinstated without delay.”

In a statement with widespread implications, the Cypriot leader told
the Security Council that “the events in Cyprus do not constitute an
internal matter of the Greeks of Cyprus. The Turks of Cyprus are also
affected. The coup of the Greek junta is an invasion, and from its
consequences the whole people of Cyprus suffers, both Greeks and

This statement has been the object of intense debate among
commentators, some of whom argue that it gave Turkey, which was
already preparing for invasion, the final green light – or pretext –
to move in.

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