The Cyprus Issue, 1950s

Turkey’s Role in the Cyprus Issue in the 1950s

Judging from what has been called the “national oath” (Kıbrıs Türktür Türk kalacak, i.e., “Cyprus is Turkish, and will stay Turkish”), the underlying Turkish position with regard to Cyprus is that it should belong to Turkey. This has been unequivocally stated innumerable times by representatives of the Turkish Government, but such statements have rarely been given serious consideration by commentators and analysts,* who perhaps think they are mere bluster and exaggeration. And they may be, but it is also possible that they are not—that in the long term that is what Turkey aims for, even if her actual demands at any given time are tempered according to prevailing circumstances and what is perceived to be achievable in the short term.

In any consideration of Turkey’s position it has to be borne in mind that the population and culture of Cyprus has since ancient times been predominantly Greek, and that attitudes which regard the aspirations and ethnicity of a coveted area’s population as irrelevant should have no place in the modern post-UN-charter world.

What follows below is a small contribution to understanding Turkish involvement in the Cyprus issue. The intention is to gather in one place materials for the study of the role of Turkey in the Cyprus Issue. The collection of material and the information contained here is by no means complete yet, but we will add to it over time as material is collected.


* A noteworthy exception in this regard is the warning by the historian Christopher Walker, soon after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, that Cyprus may end up going the way of Alexandretta, which was swallowed up by Turkey in 1939:
“... on the precedent of Alexandretta, they might find that agreements with Turkey have a curiously fragile nature—a characteristic of the ceasefire of July 22, 1974—until, perhaps, the Republic of Cyprus becomes the Turkish province of Kibris.” (Christopher Walker, “Lessons of Turkey’s subtle land-grab,” The Times, 5 September 1974, p. 14.)

** Please note that where full bibliographical details of a source are not given here, they can be found on the Bibliography page.

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1952: Warning Signs

According to a Special Branch report for August 1957 by A. F. Thomson, Chief Superintendent of Police in Cyprus, Hasan Nevzat Karagil was expelled from the UK in 1952 for agitating for the return of Cyprus to Turkey. The report contains the information that he was born in Cyprus but moved to Turkey and took out Turkish citizenship before heading for the UK. (Fanoula Argyrou, “Τούρκοι: Διχοτόμηση, η μόνη λύση,” Σημερινή [Simerini], 23 Nov. 2010.)

19 June 1952

Telegram 5387, June 19, reported that Evangelos Averoff, Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, told Peurifoy in Athens on June 18, that in his discussions with the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister during the Greek royal visit to Turkey, the Turks would not discuss Cyprus enosis [i.e., union with Greece], stating that they themselves had strong interests therein because of former possession of the island and the Turkish minority there. They assured the Greeks that they would not let the British play them off against the Greeks in discussing Cyprus. Peurifoy reported that Averoff said that if and when the Greeks secure Cyprus, they will make ample provision for the Turkish minority and will grant the British whatever bases they want on a 99-year lease. (781.11/6—1952) (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Volume VIII, doc. 357, p. 675, note 6)

1954: The Creation of the Cyprus Is Turkish Society

8 February 1954

Although Turkey has tried to dissociate itself as much as possible from agitation on the Cyprus question, it has firmly stated its intention of being heard if the status of Cyprus should change, basing its interest on the large Turkish minority in the island. (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Volume VIII, doc. 361: Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs [Baxter], p. 680)

26 February 1954
747C.OO/2-2654: Telegram: The Ambassador in Turkey (Warren) to the Department of State, ANKARA, February 26, 1954—8 p. m.

SECRET

897. Department’s CA-443 [4336], February 18. In conversation with Under Secretary Birgi today he raised Cyprus question on own initiative. He stated British recently approached Turks ascertain their views if Greeks should raise issue in UN. Turks replied they would consider such action by Greece most unfortunate. Turkish Government most desirous avoid involvement but if issue raised in UN will assert its interest and ask participate any Anglo-Greek discussions.

Foreign Office now informed by British Greek Government has formally advised UK its intention raise issue next UNGA. British inquired if Turks prepared support their request to US that we urge Greek Government not take this step. Turks have now decided do so and instructions to Embassy Washington going forward soon.

Briefly summarizing Turkish position, Birgi said, raise issue Cyprus union with Greece in UN would evoke sharply critical reaction in Turkey and jeopardize existing good relations with Greece. For this reason Turkish Government has been most careful avoid any action or statement on Cyprus which might inflame public opinion. No formal representation has ever been made to Greek Government although it has been intimated indirectly several times that Turkish Government hoped Greek Government would not officially support agitation for Enosis. Foreign Office now considering formal representations and Birgi thinks it likely they will be made. Turks would stress argument to raise issue in UN would benefit only common enemy. Furthermore, Arab-Asiatic bloc could be expected utilize it to maximum for own ends.

Birgi expressed personal view Kyrou may be personally active in pushing action by Greek Government since appointment as Secretary General Foreign Office because strong personal feelings on subject. He states Kyrou expelled from Cyprus by British some years ago for anti-British activities. (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Volume VIII, doc. 362, pp. 680-681)

5 March & 21 April 1954

The Turkish National Student Federation in Istanbul held meetings on the Cyprus issue. It was decided “to arrange exchanges between Turkish and Turkish Cypriot students in order to strengthen the ties between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots”. (Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image p. 76)

28 July 1954

Following Anthony Eden's announcement that British forces were to be withdrawn from the Suez Canal Zone, the Secretary of State for the Colonies Henry L. Hopkinson announced plans for a new constitution for Cyprus, which would give some representation to the populace, but not a majority to the Greek Cypriots in the legislature. On being questioned about it he replied: “In regard to the second part of the question, it has always been understood and agreed that there are certain territories in the Commonwealth which, owing to their particular circumstances, can never expect to be fully independent.” The word “never” stirred up fierce resentment in Cyprus and Greece. (Hansard House of Commons Debate, 28 July 1954, vol. 531 cc. 508)

Responding to the British plan for a new constitution, the Turkish National Student Federation issued a pamphlet stating inter alia: “It is our sacred duty to resist any action which will disturb the tranquility of the island which is an inseparable part of our own country and a sacred legacy of our grandfathers.” (Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image p. 76)

17 August 1954
Editorial by Fazil Küçük in Halkin Sesi

Note:The Turkish Cypriot newspaper Halkın Sesi (Voice of the People) was founded by Fazil Küçük in 1942.

From a legal as well as moral point of view, Turkey, as the initial owner of the island just before the British occupation, has a first option to Cyprus. The matter does not end there. From a worldwide political point of view as well as from geographical and strategical points of view Cyprus must be handed to Turkey if Great Britain is going to quit.

[....]

The Turkish youth in Turkey, in fact, has grown up with the idea that as soon as Great Britain leaves the island the island will automatically be taken over by the Turks. It must be clear to all concerned that Turkey cannot tolerate seeing one of her former islands, lying as it does only forty miles from her shores, handed over to a weak neighbour thousands of miles away... (From http://www.cyprus-conflict.net/Kucuk-1954.html)

Editorial Comment: It should be noted that Cyprus has never been part of Turkey or ruled by Turkey. Küçük is choosing to treat the Ottoman Empire and Turkey the nation-state as identical. His argument is nonsense. If all former Ottoman dominions were to be regarded as rightfully belonging to Turkey, then Turkey the nation-state would include the Balkans, the Middle East, and all of the Eastern Mediterranean.

24 August 1954

The Turkish National Student Federation Executive Committee held a meeting with the newspaper owners and editors of Istanbul, where most of the national newspapers were published, to discuss Cyprus. Presiding over the meeting was the owner of the newspaper Hürriyet. It was decided at the meeting to form an association to be known as the Cyprus Is Turkish Committee (Kıbrıs Türktür Komitesi). Hasan Nevzat Karagil was elected President.

The charter of Kıbrıs Türktür stated that its aims were: “To acquaint world public opinion with the fact that Cyprus is Turkish, to defend the rights and privileges of Turks with regard to Cyprus... and to condition Turkish public opinion.” (Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image p. 77)

28 August 1954

Within a few days of its establishment, the Executive Council of Kıbrıs Türktür was received by the Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes in the Governor’s Mansion in Istanbul. Also present was Fatin Zorlu, Turkey’s Minister of State. The meeting was arranged by the editor of the newspaper Vatan Ahmed Emin. Menderes was pleased about the establishment of Kıbrıs Türktür and confided classified information to the Executive Council. (Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image p. 81)

2 October 1954

After submitting its constitution to the Istanbul District Administration, the Kıbrıs Türktür Committee acquired legal status with the name Cyprus Is Turkish Society (Kıbrıs Türktür Cemiyeti). Hikmet Bil, the editor of Hürriyet was elected president of the now formally established organisation. (Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image p. 83)

17 December 1954

Greece applied for the first time for Cyprus to be discussed at the United Nations General Assembly by proposing a draft resolution asking that “the principle of self-determination be applied in the case of the population of the Island of Cyprus”. That resolution was sidelined by a counter-resolution proposed by New Zealand, at Britain's behest no doubt. On 17 December the United Nations General Assembly adopted a modified version of the counter-resolution: that “for the time being it does not appear appropriate to adopt a resolution on the question of Cyprus”. (See http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/9/ares9.htm.)

1955: The Tripartite Conference in London and the Anti-Greek Pogrom in Turkey

1 April 1955

Led by EOKA, the armed struggle for the liberation of Cyprus from British rule began just after midnight with a series of bomb blasts. There followed “two months of relative calm, with no further acts of violence”. (Morgan, Sweet and Bitter Island p. 212)

5 April 1955

Winston Churchill resigned as Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom due to ill health, and was replaced by Anthony Eden.

July 1955

In response to leaflets circulated throughout Cyprus on 30 June calling on Turkish Cypriot youth to oppose EOKA, EOKA circulated a leaflet in Turkish explaining that its campaign was directed against British Colonialism and not against Turkish Cypriots.

“... Our intentions towards the Turkish inhabitants of the island are pure and friendly. We are looking at the Turks as our genuine friends and allies and, as far as we are concerned and to the extent it is in our power, we will not condone any harm whatsoever against their life, dignity, honor, and property...” (Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image p. 56)

9 July 1955
Editorial by Fazil Küçük in Halkin Sesi

“Cyprus is Turkish ... The duty of Great Britain is to give the house to the real owner and let the owner deal with the unruly subtenants. Turkey and Turks of Cyprus consider Great Britain as a nation of gentleman. They feel that, if she decides to leave Cyprus, she will invite the true owner.” (Quoted in Murat Çalişkan, The Development of Inter-Communal Fighting In Cyprus: 1948-1974 [M.Sc. International Relations Thesis, “Middle East Technical University”], December 2012)

21 July 1955

Hikmet Bil, President of the Cyprus Is Turkish Society, arrived in Cyprus with Kamil Onal, the General Secretary. Their aim: “to assure a reaction to the cause abroad”. Following meetings with Hikmet Bil, Fazil Küçük changed the name of his party to the Cyprus Is Turkish Party. (Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image pp. 99-100)

Charles Foley: “I was given their viewpoint at a cocktail party offered by the Turkish Consul-General. My mentors were Dr Fazil Kutchuk, the owner-editor of a newspaper, Halkin Sesi, and Mr Hikmet Bil, who had recently come from Ankara on an important mission: to help reorganize the Turkish-Cypriots’ political party. Mr Bil told me it was to be re-named ‘The Cyprus is Turkish Party’ which sounded original, if mildly seditious. Mr Bil explained that it was a perfectly proper title. ‘If, and only if, Britain decides to abdicate in Cyprus, then we shall put forward our claim to regain the island for Turkey.’ He breathed in. ‘If necessary, we shall fight.’ Dr Kutchuk, who had studied his medicine in Lausanne and preferred to speak French, was an earnest, melancholy, middle-aged man. He said a sister party was now being formed in Turkey itself and would soon have half a million members, all ready to back up their brothers in Cyprus. Was this done with the approval of the Turkish Government? But naturally, nothing would be done without that. The doctor added that he had recently received a letter ‘written in red ink’ threatening his life; as a first step his garage would be burnt down. He defied the Greeks to touch him. His colleagues agreed that at once a hundred thousand Turkish Cypriots would surround his dead body: a hecatomb of Greek corpses would rise! I joined them in contemplating this vision with mournful satisfaction; soon, glowing with whisky and knowledge, I drove off.
The Cyprus Government raised no objection to the new party or its title when it was announced, and no questions were asked of Mr Bil, a foreign national concerning himself with colonial politics. Understandably, the stronger EOKA grew, the more indulgence was shown to the Turks. (Foley, Legacy of Strife pp. 29-30. Charles Foley was the founder of The Times of Cyprus.)

“In 1955, Dr Fazil Kuchuk was allowed to organize, with the declared help of a Turkish national named Hikmet Bil, a political party with the striking name of the ‘Cyprus Is Turkish Party’. This was at a time when all Greek parties were banned, and Britain claimed exclusive sovereignty over the island.” (Hitchens, Hostage to History p.45)

27 July 1955

Zorlu was appointed Acting Foreign Minister and Turkey's representative to the London Conference. After his appointment “he established a small committee of experts to study the Cyprus problem. The committee included Nuri Birgi (General Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), who composed Turkey’s White Book on Cyprus; Rüştü Erdelhun (second-in-command of the Turkish General Staff); Settar İksel (Turkish Ambassador to Athens); Orhan Eralp (General Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs); and Mahmut Dikerdem.” (Vryonis 2005, pp. 81-82.)

16 August 1955

“On 16 August 1955, Hikmet Bil... sent a letter [circular] to all branches of the KTC [Cyprus Is Turkish Society] stating the necessity of a “manly reaction” from the Turkish motherland in order to intimidate London and Athens.” (Güven, “Riots against the Non-Muslims of Turkey”).

In this circular, dated August 16, 1955, Hikmet Bil refers to a letter dated August 13, 1955, sent by the Cyprus is Turkish Party President General [sic] Dr. Fazıl Küçük to the central headquarters [of the society] in which the latter said that particularly recently the Island [i.e., Cypriot] Greeks had become intolerable and unfortunately the situation is becoming worse. If one can believe the news being spread around Nicosia, they [the Greek Cypriots] are getting ready for a general massacre [of the Turkish Cypriots] in the near future.

Küçük’s letter continued with the following:

“My request of you is that as soon as possible you inform all branches of this situation and that we get them to take action. It seems to me that meetings in the mother country would be very useful. Because these [Cypriot Greeks] will hold a general meeting August 28. Either on that day or after conclusion of the Tripartite Conference they will want to attack us. As is known, they are armed and we have nothing.”
(From the transcript of the court proceedings in February 1956 against Hikmet Bil and other members of the Cyprus Is Turkish Society. Quoted in Vryonis 2005, p. 83.)

Editorial Comment: Thus was a rumour with no basis in fact, intended “to condition Turkish public opinion”, manufactured.

18 August 1955

... Bil transformed the general anxiety of a segment of Turkish Cypriots—and the general, non-specific information passed on to him by Fazıl Küçük and Faiz Kaymak—into a definitive, planned, general massacre of Turkish Cypriots by their Greek neighbors on August 28. There is no evidence whatsoever that such a massacre was ever planned, and it was certainly never attempted either by EOKA [National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters] or the Greek Cypriot leaders at the time. Nevertheless, through the circular and in an article that was published in Hürriyet on August 18, Bil gave the rumor of the massacre its final form, which, as such, was passed off to the Turkish people as a whole. Only two days after receiving the copy of Küçük's letter, he wrote in his newspaper that: “One can say today that the Greeks of Cyprus are fully armed. As for the Turks, they do not have weapons even for display.... In this manner there has arisen today a paradoxical situation in Cyprus. According to special information that has been transmitted to us from Cyprus, the Greeks of the island will organize a major demonstration on the twenty-eighth of the present month, and they will attack the Turks. From all this, the Greeks have also given a name to this day: They have named it ‘The day of the general massacre’....” Accordingly, from August 18, by virtue of both the circular and the article in Hürriyet, the rumor of the massacre became an established ‘fact’, and was now adopted by individuals and groups devoted to creating an atmosphere of hysterical chauvinism and passionate hatred of the Greek minority.

On the day Bil’s article appeared, the KTC’s Bandırma branch telephoned the offices of the newspaper Tercüman, which published the branch’s decision to send 1,000 KTC members to defend Turkish Cypriots, all to go before August 28. (Vryonis 2005, p. 85.)

20 August 1955

On August 20, Tercüman published a second news item from Bandırma, according to which Menderes himself had replied to the local KTC office’s offer to send 1,000 volunteers to defend Turkish Cypriots: “I esteem your patriotic sentiments. At the same time that I express to you my respect, please remain certain that the Government is ever alert and that it shall not hesitate to take the required measures.” (Vryonis 2005, p. 86.)

21 August 1955

... Yeni Sabah published a second statement by Faiz Kaymak: “The innocent and unarmed Turks fear that at any moment they will be massacred by the terrorists. We desire that Turkey provide every aid and that it ensure the lives and the property of the Turks of Cyprus.” (Vryonis 2005, p. 86.)

24 August 1955

... Prime Minister Menderes held a banquet at the Liman Lokantası (Harbor Restaurant) in honor of Foreign Minister Zorlu and of the members of his mission who were to depart for London to represent Turkey at the Tripartite Conference. Among the guests were various other ministers, members of parliament, businessmen, and newspaper editors....

Menderes’ speech at the banquet included the following:

“The stance that the terrorists have taken on the question of Cyprus, and all that which is being said in regard to our subject, have plunged us into justified uneasiness. This malaise refers in part certainly also to the future. Among all these things, the major source of our malaise is constituted by all those things that are reported, somber events that will unfold in Cyprus from one day to another. We do not wish to consider these things certain, nor are we able to accept that it is possible that the matter may take such a turn. Nevertheless, those men announce uninterruptedly, with a terrorist air, that August 28 shall be a day of general massacre of our fellow Turks in Cyprus. We are certain that the British Government, based upon its legal rights, shall carry out its obligations thoroughly. It is said that the excitation of the Greek population of the island... has reached a peak. Consequently, a sudden undertaking, a criminal initiative devoid of all conscience, could provoke results of which the consequences would be inescapable and incurable... The local officials, it is possible, will be unprepared for this. And our population there will probably be found to be unarmed and unable to move against a majority which is extremely excited and armed. This does not mean, however, that these people, I mean the Turks, will remain, not even for a moment, undefended.” (Vryonis 2005, pp. 87-88.)

29 August-7 September 1955
“Tripartite Conference on the Eastern Mediterranean”, also known as the London Conference on Cyprus

Editorial: Britain initiated the conference, ostensibly to discuss security issues in the Eastern Mediterranean, but with the real purpose of bringing together representatives of Greece and Turkey so that it could be made clear to the Greeks that Turkey regarded itself as an interested party in any discussions about the future of Cyprus. The conference ended in disarray with news of an anti-Greek pogrom in Turkey (mainly Istanbul, but also Izmir and Ankara). Zorlu, who had been closely involved in the planning for the pogrom, blamed the Greeks, arguing that their provocative Cyprus policy had caused the attacks. The Turkish delegation was recalled by Menderes, and left London on 8 September.

5 September 1955

“One day before the attacks, on 5 September 1955, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes had dinner with Hikmet Bil, and told him that he had received a ciphered telegram from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatin Rüştü Zorlu, who had been visiting London for the Cyprus Conference. The Foreign Minister reported that he had faced difficulties during the negotiations, that the terms of negotiation were hard and that during negotiations, he would like to utter Turkish public opinion to be formed. In other words, the Minister was demanding more action from the mainland.
   Bil reported this information to the executive board of the KTC, which was convened for an urgent meeting on the same day.” (Güven, “Riots against the Non-Muslims of Turkey”. Güven's source is an interview with Hikmet Bil, 15 Jan. 2002.)

6-7 September 1955
The anti-Greek pogrom in Turkey

"In September 1955, as Cyprus was being discussed at a three-power conference in London, the Turkish secret police planted a bomb at the house where Kemal Ataturk was born in Salonica. At the signal of this `Greek provocation', mobs swarmed through Istanbul looting Greek businesses, burning Orthodox churches, and attacking Greek residents. Although no one in official circles in London doubted that the pogrom was unleashed by the Turkish government, Macmillan—in charge of the talks—pointedly did not complain.” (“The Divisions of Cyprus” by Perry Anderson in London Review of Books vol. 30, no. 8, 24 April 2008, pp. 7-16.)

“On 6 September 1955 at 13.00, Turkish state radio announced that a bomb attack had taken place at the house in Thessalonica where Atatürk was born, and this news spread out with two different afternoon copies of the newspaper İstanbul Ekspres [...] which was printed in extraordinary numbers that day.” (Güven, “Riots against the Non-Muslims of Turkey”)

In the afternoon of 6 September, after news reached Istanbul of the bomb attack to Atatürk’s home, [Kâmil] Önal made the following statement to the evening copy of İstanbul Ekspres: “Eventually, we can obviously confess that we will call to account those who dared lay hands on our sacred values.” While Önal was handing out posters and copies of the İstanbul Ekspres to a crowd in front of the TMTF premises, Orhan Birgit, a member of executive board, wrote a declaration on behalf of the KTC condemning the attack on Atatürk’s home and asking the people to act in solidarity and to devote themselves to the national oath ‘Cyprus is Turkish, and will stay Turkish.’” (Güven, “Riots against the Non-Muslims of Turkey”)

The demonstrators kept chanting the slogan: “Cyprus is Turkish and will remain Turkish, Greeks are curs and will remain curs.” (Soner Yalçın & Doğan Yurdakul, Bay Pipo [Doğan Kitap, 1999] pp. 48-52. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton.)

In household attacks, Greek-Orthodox women in particular were raped. The Chief Physician of Balıklı Hospital reported that 60 Greek-Orthodox women were treated accordingly. [Public Record Office, Prime Minister’s Office 11834/447, Report from the General Consulate of Istanbul, 22 Sept. 1955] If we assume that many rape victims concealed what had happened and avoided medical care, it can be claimed that the actual number of rape victims was higher.
  The number of deaths is uncertain; in the Turkish press it was reported that between 11 and 15 people died. According to records of the German Consulate General, economic losses amounted to approximately 150 million Turkish Liras (TL), an amount equal to the value of 54 million US Dollars in that period. 28 million TL of this financial damage belonged to Greek citizens, 68 million TL to Greek-Orthodox citizens of the Turkish Republic, 35 million TL to churches, and 18 million TL to foreigners and other minorities (Armenians and Jews) respectively. [Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes (Berlin) 9 Türkei 205-00/92.42, Report from the General Consulate of Istanbul, 11 Jan. 1956] (Güven, “Riots against the Non-Muslims of Turkey”)

“Gökşin Sipahioğlu, the editor of the İstanbul Ekspres at that time, explained in an interview that the events of 6 September 1955 were organised by the MAH [the National Security Service]. Sipahioğlu’s account was confirmed by a brigadier general in an interview conducted in 1991 [Milliyet 1 June 1991] regarding the structure and working principles of Special Operations:
   ‘The attacks of 6/7 September were certainly planned by the Special Operations Unit. It was an extremely premeditated operation and it accomplished its objective. Let me ask you; wasn’t it an extraordinarily successful action?’ (Güven, “Riots against the Non-Muslims of Turkey”)

In those days the young officer Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu, who rose to the rank of full general in the Turkish armed forces and held the post of general secretary in the National Security Council, was assigned to the Special War Unit, the Mobilisation Study Council. Years later, having retired from the rank of full general, he took journalist Fatih Güllapoğlu behind the scenes of the 6-7 September events:
Yirmibeşoğlu: Then if we take the 6-7 September events...
Journalist: Sorry, commander, I don’t quite understand. The events of 6-7 September?
Yirmibeşoğlu: Of course… 6-7 September was the work of Special War [Unit] and was a splendid piece of organisation. It also achieved its aim. (I broke out in a cold sweat as the commander spoke these words.) I ask you. Was this not a splendid piece of organisation?
Journalist: Oh, yes commander!
(From: Fatih Güllapoğlu, Tanksız, Topsuz Harekat [Tekin Yayınevi, 1991] p. 104. Quoted in Soner Yalçın & Doğan Yurdakul, Bay Pipo [Doğan Kitap, 1999] pp. 48-52. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton.)

9 September 1955

In Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot paramilitary organisation Volkan revealed its existence with a first announcement prepared by Erdan Ali. Turgut Mustafa Özkaloğlu, a member of Volkan, remembers that the announcement used the slogan "Every Turk is a Volkan", and demanded partition, claiming that 38% of the territory of Cyprus was land owned by Turkish Cypriots. (Athanasiades, TMT p. 196; Ioannides, In Turkey’s Image p. 125)

“Though the Turkish Cypriot terrorist group Volkan was founded in 1955, and carried out many lethal attacks on civilians, very few members of it were ever tried, let alone punished by the British crown. In contrast, numerous supporters of the Greek Cypriot EOKA were hanged and hundreds more imprisoned.” (Hitchens, Hostage to History p. 46)

According to statements Rauf Denktash is reported to have made, Volkan was established by the British:
“... Mr Denktash ... said that Volkan was established by the British, that its members were British agents, that all those who were members of Volkan were later sent by the British to Britain where they were given jobs and many other things. That it was not really a terrorist organisation, as we know them...” (TMT: With Blood and Fire, Part 1, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, 13 January 2006)

Editorial Comment: VOLKAN means volcano but it is also an acronym for the phrase "Var Olmak Lazımsa Kan Akıtmamak Niye" which means "If existence is a necessity, to what end no bloodshed?" (See, for example, http://anamurunsesi.com/YANSAYFA/koseyazilari/u keser tmt bayraktari vuruskan.htm.)

13 September 1955

The left-wing Turkish Cypriot weekly newspaper İnkılâpçı (Revolutionary) began publication. It would continue for only 14 weeks. After a state of emergency was declared by the colonial government, it was banned, along with AKEL’s Νέος Δημοκράτης (New Democrat). See “26 November 1955” and “12 December 1955” below.

25 September 1955

On 24 September Cabinet decided to dismiss the Governor of Cyprus Robert Armitage. His notice of dismissal arrived on the following day. He left Cyprus on 3 October 1955. On 16 August Macmillan had written to Eden, “I am really worried about Cyprus... The real trouble is at the top. Could we not have a new Governor?” (Macmillan to Eden, 16 Aug. 1955, PREM 11/834, quoted in Holland 1998, p. 71.)

3 October 1955
Field Marshal Sir John Harding and the Cypriot Police Force

Robert Armitage left Cyprus, and Field Marshal Sir John Harding arrived to take over the position of Governor General. (See “New Stage in Cyprus Begun,” The Times, 4 October 1955, pp.8 & 16.)

... Sir John Harding sought to crush the insurgency quickly, using force. To realize this goal he recruited poorly educated and rural men from both ethnic groups on the island for the Cypriot Auxiliary Police Force (CAPF). A disproportionate number of the 1,386 men hastily recruited in 1955 were Turkish Cypriots (37 percent compared with the island’s population distribution of 18 percent), even though experienced colonial officials warned against the possible long-term effects of recruiting Turkish police. Moreover, these men were poorly trained, low-paid, and unprepared to carry out their primary purpose: to suppress the rebellion and provide support for the British military’s strategic deployments against EOKA insurgents in the rural districts of Cyprus. Facing threats of violence, poor working conditions, and EOKA pressure, Greek recruits soon left the force, so that by 1956 it became an exdusively Turkish Cypriot auxiliary force. By 1958 the CAPF had 1,594 recruits, drawn from the Turkish population and augmented by the Special Mobile Reserve, a marginally better-trained troop of 569 Turkish Cypriots devoted to riot duty only. My father was a member of the CAPF. [...] The creation of an exclusive ethnic local group to police another ethnic group was instrumental in developing and fermenting the divisions that characterize the tensions on the island today. (Gülgün Kayim, “Crossing Boundaries in Cyprus: Landscapes of Memory in the Demilitarized Zone”. In Walls, Borders, Boundaries: Spatial and Cultural Practices in Europe, eds. Marc Silberman, Karen E. Till, Janet Ward [Berghahn Books, 2012] p. 213)

Harding’s policies also led directly to the increase in communal tension, and eventually outright war between the Greeks and Turks on Cyprus. Before the insurgency Greek and Turkish Cypriots had lived in relative harmony and there had been little trouble. At the start of the insurgency, EOKA was careful to target only British personnel and facilities in order to reassure the Turks that they would be left alone, and their rights and property respected if Cyprus were united with Greece. Harding saw the Turks, who favored the status quo, as allies, and an additional source of manpower to crush EOKA. So he greatly expanded the size of the Auxiliary Police.This action went counter to the advice of experienced colonial officials, who knew that reliance upon a Turkish police force would alarm the Greek Cypriot population and likely lead to open conflict between the island’s ethnic communities—a development that the Colonial Office officials desperately wanted to avoid. Brushing such warnings aside, Harding proceeded with his plan to reinforce the security forces with Turkish auxiliaries. In 1956 the Auxiliary Police was expanded to 1,417 personnel, a larger force than the entire regular police of 1954. Harding then employed the Turkish Cypriots as a main force to suppress the insurgency, again disdaining the advice of civilian officials with long experience in Cyprus. In September 1955, a new police force was formed, the Special Mobile Reserve, which was recruited exclusively from the Turkish community. [...] Harding’s counterinsurgency strategy proved dramatically counter-productive. Deploying large numbers of untrained, undisciplined, and poorly led Turkish policemen against the Greeks guaranteed a culture of police abuse and an immediate rise in communal tension. (James S. Corum, Bad Strategies: How Major Powers Fail in Counterinsurgency [Zenith Imprint, 2008] pp. 109-111. See also Training Indigenous Forces in Counterinsurgency: A Tale of Two Insurgencies by LTC James S. Corum.)

When the armed struggle started, the British had at their disposal thousands of men and could even increase their existing numbers to put down the EOKA struggle. This they did not do, but they formed instead the well known Auxiliary Corps. The ordinary Turkish Cypriots, who did not realize where the British were leading them (since their leadership did not warn them, rather it encouraged them), hastened to reinforce this Auxiliary Corps thinking only of securing a living. Thus, the Greek Cypriots, who thought that they were waging a holy struggle against the British, found themselves facing the Turkish Cypriots. (Ibrahim Aziz, The Historical Course of the Turkish Cypriot Community, 1981)

According to Lennox-Boyd, responding to a question in the House of Commons, by 1958 there were “536 Turkish Cypriots in the mobile reserve and no Greeks, and 1,281 Turkish Cypriots and 56 Greek Cypriots in the auxiliary police.” (Hansard HC Deb 17 June 1958 vol 589 cc867)

At every opportunity, the British urged the [British] commandos and the [Turkish Cypriot] auxiliaries to maltreat the Greek suspects in order to create a chaotic situation between the two communities. Using their puppets, they stirred up the masses. I therefore felt the necessity many times to intervene and use my prestige in order to prevent destructive incidents which were the aim of the British. My continuous interventions angered the British, as can be as seen from the following incident:
Late one evening, a Turkish Cypriot working for the Intelligence Service (the British Secret Service) came to my house. As I used to be his family doctor, I thought that he or someone in his family was ill and that was the purpose of his late visit. I said smiling: “You must have someone ill or some serious matter to come at this hour”.
My visitor seemed to hesitate to express himself. After a brief silence, he said: “Doctor, I came to ask you for something and apologize for disturbing you at this hour. I considered it my duty to inform you that your interventions aiming at impeding the clashes between the two communities are being watched by both the military and police authorities. Your actions are an obstacle to their plans and I do not think it is necessary for me to tell you how much I will suffer if anything happens to you. For this reason I ask you, whatever the case, not to intervene. This is the reason for my disturbing you at this hour.”
I thanked my Turkish compatriot because I was certain of his sincerity. It was not news to me that the Secret Service would not hesitate to execute me and any other person who would be an obstacle to its plans. I thought it correct to do as my visitor advised me. Following this decision of mine, the British managed to carry out their plans in Paphos. They created unfortunate situations between the two communities, just as they did in other parts of Cyprus. I must add that, though I avoided intervening openly, I took every opportunity to explain to my community this sly and divisive policy of the Colonialists. They should not have been given the opportunity to implement their malicious plans. (“Extracts from the Memoirs of Dr Ihsan Ali”, Accessed 5 April 2013.)

26 November 1955

A state of emergency was declared on Cyprus. (See The Canberra Times, Monday 28 November 1955.)

12 December 1955

The last issue of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper İnkılâpçı (= Revolutionary) was published. It contained an article with the title “Threat”, revealing that the Turkish Cypriot leadership and its underground organization had sent threatening letters to the publishing team with statements like: “Cease publication or you will be killed, your head will be crushed”. (Ahmet Djavit An, “Good Old Days of Cooperation within the Working Class of Cyprus”, 2005)

16 December 1955
Volkan proclamation addressed to Turkish Cypriots

Those who fell on this paternal territory entrusted you with this fatherland knowing that you would not abandon it. It is your destiny to fight for your existence under any conditions. Otherwise you are condemned to sign your own sentence. If then you too want to feel the same joy which your forebears felt when they conquered Cyprus, and to see the flag with the moon and star fluttering everywhere then prepare for sacrifices, and disregard other considerations. (Athanasiades 1998, pp. 197-8. My translation.)

1956: Cyprus In Safe Hands

9 March 1956

Archbishop Makarios III, the political leader of the Enosis movement in Cyprus, was “kidnapped” by the Colonial authorities and exiled to Port Victoria in the Seychelles.

15 March 1956
Memorandum of a Conversation about Cyprus in London

George Allen, the Assistant Secretary of State asked whether the Foreign Office saw any signs of a solution of the Cyprus question. Ivone Kirkpatrick, the Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, said “that he was very concerned over the problem of ‘squaring the circle’, by which he meant how to reconcile Turkish and Greek interests. …

Sir Ivone continued that the Turkish point of view was not sufficiently appreciated in the United States. The plain facts were that Cyprus could not be given to Greece without provoking a war between Greece and Turkey. Sir Ivone said he wished to make it plain that he was not defending the Turkish point of view. Mr. Zorlu and Mr. Birgi [Secretary General, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs] had taken the position at the London conference that Turkey did not want either self-determination or self-government for Cyprus and that if the British did not agree with the Turkish position, Turkey would have to reconsider its relations with Britain. Birgi had said as much right in Sir Ivone’s office and Sir Ivone had had to reply “with some acerbity”. The Turks insisted on equal representation for Turks and Greeks in any legislature that was set up in Cyprus.” (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957: Volume XXIV, Soviet Union, Eastern Mediterranean, Document 168, retrieved 2 April 2013.)

9-10 July 1956

Returning from the Philippines where he had participated in the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Filipino independence, Vice President Nixon stopped overnight in Ankara. He met with President Celal Bayar, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, Acting Foreign Minister Etem Menderes, and Foreign Office Secretary Nuri Birgi.

On 12 July Nixon briefed the National Security Council about his trip. He referred to his visit to Turkey thus:

“Apropos of his visit to Turkey, the Vice President said that he was amazed to find that the Turks had a positively pathological attitude on the Cyprus problem. The Prime Minister had even gone so far as to suggest that if Cyprus was joined to Greece, the Turks would go to war to prevent it. He had subsequently modified this statement. The reason for Turkish alarm over Cyprus, said the Vice President, was rather the closeness of the island to the Turkish mainland than concern for the Turkish minority living on Cyprus.” (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957: Volume XXIV, Soviet Union, Eastern Mediterranean, Document 184, retrieved 2 April 2013.)

13 July 1956

“The man in charge of British foreign policy is a Turkish gentleman, Mr Menderes.” (Randolph Churchill, “Our Turkish Foreign Secretary,” Spectator, 13 July 1956.)

Mrs. Jeger: “The Turks do not need to agitate to get their way when the Foreign Secretary does exactly as they tell him. Indeed, even a gentleman who sometimes supports the Conservative Party wrote an article in the Spectator last week entitled ‘Our Turkish Foreign Secretary’. (Hansard, House of Commons Debate, 19 July 1956, vol. 556, c1500.)

26 July 1956

The Egyptian President, Colonel Nasser, announced the nationalisation of the Suez Canal and the Suez Canal Company.

14 October 1956

Britain and France held secret discussions and formed a plan whereby Israel would invade Egypt, Britain and France would intervene, and in so doing would seize the Suez Canal.

29 October 1956

Israeli forces invaded Egypt.

5 November 1956

British and French troops launched their assault on Egypt.

7 November 1956

Following financial and political pressure from the US, Anthony Eden, the British Prime Minister, was forced to announce a cease fire in the Suez at midnight on 6 November.

13 November 1956

In telegram 1115, November 13, the Embassy at Ankara reported that the Turks were disturbed by reports that the United States might not oppose inscription of the Cyprus item on the agenda of the forthcoming U.N. General Assembly. The Embassy added that, in its view, inscription of the Cyprus item might endanger Greek-Turkish relations, interfere with the Holmes mission, and not serve Western interests. (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957: Volume XXIV, Soviet Union, Eastern Mediterranean, Document 209, retrieved 2 April 2013.)

24 November 1956

Editorial Comment: Nihat Erim, who was appointed special advisor for the Cyprus issue by Prime Minister Menderes, submitted the first of two classified reports on Cyprus. (The second was submitted on 22 December 1956.) I have been unable to obtain copies of the complete reports thus far, but some scholars seem to have had access to them. Here are a few relevant quotations which give some idea of what is to be found in the reports:

Erim... argued that Turkey’s minimum policy goal should be the partition of the island (taksim). As the maximum objective he proposed the annexation and/or the strategic control of the whole of Cyprus by Turkey. As Greece’s aim was to encircle Turkey after its success in taking the Dodecanese, according to Erim, only the strategic control of the whole of Cyprus could thwart this policy objective. (Vassilis K. Fouskas, “Reflections on the Cyprus Issue and the Turkish Invasion of 1974”, Mediterranean Quarterly 12.3 [2001])

“Support for keeping Cyprus in its present form in the hands of Britain will not gain us friends at the United Nations. The slogan in international relations since the end of the Second World War has been the abolition of colonialism. Moreover, article 73 of the UN Charter obliges Great Britain to secure self-determination. In any case, from the beginning of the crisis, Britain had quickly changed its stance and accepted self-determination in the form of self-government. It is not right for Turkey, with geographical, historical and military rights on Cyprus, to argue the position that the island should remain a British colony. When supporting this view, Turkey must state the following: the sovereignty of Cyprus should remain with Britain with the presupposition that it must recognise the right to self-determination of its people.”
In this way, Nihat Erim attempted to align Turkey's objectives with the spirit of the time. Without modifications to Ankara's ambitions, a position could be found that could win support for Turkey on the international stage. As for the form of self-government supported by Ankara, there was no reason, Erim said, for that to be revealed at this juncture. He was concerned about this, however, and in his report he examined various possibilities: “It is possible that Britain could give Cyprus to us alone. This view has been supported from the outset by our government.” (Costas Yennaris, From the East: Conflict and Partition in Cyprus [2003] p. 70)

According to Nihat Erim, the fact that the Turks were a small minority was inconsequential, because the Greek Cypriot majority could be overturned: “... besides in support is the observation of the ‘father’ of the Zurich agreement Nihat Erim, which was made in his report to the Turkish government in 1956, if you please, that ‘the Greek majority in Cyprus is occasional [i.e., circumstantial or transitory] and may in time be overturned’.”
(My translation from the Greek: "... σε επίρρωση άλλωστε της παρατήρησης του «πατέρα» της Ζυρίχης Νιχάτ Ερίμ, που έγινε στην έκθεσή του προς την τουρκική κυβέρνηση το 1956 παρακαλώ, ότι «η πλειοψηφία των Ρωμιών στην Κύπρο είναι περιστασιακή και μπορεί σε βάθος χρόνου να ανατραπεί»." Source: “Η αχίλλειος πτέρνα των Τούρκων στο Κυπριακό” του Νεοκλη Σαρρη, Το Παρόν της Κυριακής 17 Jan. 2010. A not entirely accurate English translation of the article is available here.

That Turkey took seriously the security aspect of the Cyprus question was corroborated by Nihat Erim in his two classified reports on Cyprus to Prime Minister Menderes (November–December 1956). Turkey’s security is central in these reports, and is linked with the strategic balance created by the Treaty of Lausanne. (Chrysostomos Pericleous, The Cyprus Referendum: A Divided Island and the Challenge of the Annan Plan, [2009] p. 14)

Nihad Erim proposed “the geographical division of the island coupled with the transfer of populations. This straightforward proposal for ethnic cleansing would result in the formation of two separate political entities, one Greek and one Turkish, each of which would then proceed to political union with Greece and Turkey respectively.” He also proposes that “Ankara should participate in the security of the Greek sector of the island.” ( “The Cyprus Question: Historical Review”)

27 November 1956
The Times of Cyprus

25 December 1956

Four bomb explosions in Nicosia on Christmas Day are believed to have been the work of the Turkish underground organization Volkan. Three of the bombs were placed outside Greek-owned shops and houses and the fourth outside the office of the British-owned newspaper The Times of Cyprus. There was little damage beyond broken windows. It is thought that the bombs were a reprisal for the wounding of a Turkish policeman at Morphou on Sunday [23 Dec.]. (“Four Bomb Incidents,” The Times, 27 Dec. 1956, p. 5.)

On Christmas day in Nicosia, after a telephone call had accused me of ‘insulting the Turkish nation’, a bomb blew open the front door of the Times of Cyprus office. We had referred disrespectfully to partition, an idea enthusiastically adopted by Menderes and now being hammered into Turkish Cypriot heads through speeches, newspapers, and broadcasts from Ankara. Until Lennox-Boyd dropped the word, Menderes had supported British rule in Cyprus; now he said that if Turkey were not given half the island, she would take the whole. (Foley 1964, p. 89.)

1957: “Ya Taksim Ya Ölüm!

9 January 1957

Anthony Eden resigned as Prime Minister, and was replaced by Harold Macmillan. (See “Sir Anthony Eden Resigns,” The Times, January 10, 1957, p. 8. Also BBC: On This Day .)

19 January 1957

Caption: The map of Cyprus which was published yesterday by Halkin Sesi, an organ of [the party of] Dr Küçük. In feudal manner, the provinces of Nicosia, Larnaca, Famagusta, and Kyrenia are bequeathed to the Turks, generously leaving the mountainous provinces of Limassol and Paphos, marked with vertical lines, to the Greeks. (Phileleftheros, 20 January 1957. Translation: Π.Α.)

20 January 1957

A Turkish mob set fire to-night to Greek-owned buildings in the Old Town of Nicosia, and there has been some stoning of premises. A timber store is burning fiercely, but other fires have been put out. Church bells rang to call the Greeks to action, but there have been no major clashes between Greeks and Turks... The fires... are thought to have been a reprisal for the death in a bomb explosion in Nicosia yesterday of a Turkish policeman; three other Turkish policemen were wounded. The dead man, who was 44, had six children.

After the bomb incident, Dr. Fazil Kutchuk, leader of the “Cyprus is Turkish” Party, appealed to the Turks to exercise restraint. He told a crowd of several thousand cheering people that Cyprus would have to be partitioned if the British Government rejected Turkey’s proposals put forward in answer to the Radcliffe constitution.

Dr. Kutchuk has returned from Ankara after three weeks’ stay there, and was accompanied by Professor Nihat Erim... and Mr. Suat Bilge, who are going to London for further consultations with the British Government... (“Turkish Mob Fire Greek Property,” The Times, 21 January 1957, p. 6.)

The Old Town of Nicosia was placed under full curfew to-night. Military police warned Britons to leave the Old Town immediately because of clashes between Greeks and Turks. (Reuter, 20 January 1957.)

No fewer than 70 fires were started in Nicosia yesterday, according to the chief of the fire brigade, and five of them developed into major outbreaks. [...]

In all cases the police or military were able to disperse the demonstrators quickly. There was some stoning of shop windows and vehicles, and four persons were slightly injured. Two Greek Cypriots were hurt when a policeman’s gun went off accidentally. [!]

[...] The funeral of the Turkish policeman the murder of whom in a bomb explosion had inflamed the Turks and started an outbreak of arson took place quietly this afternoon. Several thousand Turks followed the procession to the cemetery.

[...] Two bombs found in the grounds of the Phaneromeni school in Nicosia were detonated on the spot by troops. [!] (“Night of Arson in Nicosia,” The Times, 22 January 1957, p. 6.)

A new slogan was coined: ‘Turks and Greeks cannot live together’, and to prove it came a series of Turkish riots. The first outbreak followed the death of an Auxiliary policeman in a bomb attack. Although Eoka had orders not to attack Turks, it was difficult to distinguish between an armed British policeman and a Turk wearing identical dark-blue uniform; by night it was impossible. Mobs swarmed through the empty Sunday streets firing houses and shops and beating any Greek they could find. The Government seemed inert. It was twelve hours before a curfew was imposed. Most of the few Turks arrested were soon released and none was put on trial. The riots continued. There was a particularly savage one after the death of another Auxiliary in Famagusta, during which the hospital and a clinic were attacked. It seemed probable that the Greeks would retaliate before long, however much it might help the partition cause... (Foley 1964, p. 89.)

21 January 1957

Dr. Kutchuk, leader of the Turkish community in Cyprus, has sent a message to Mr. Macmillan protesting against the behaviour of the Greek Cypriots during the recent communal strife. He said the Turks had acted with dignity and moderation under provocation. The message was also sent to Mr. Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Earlier it was announced that Dr. Dervis, the Greek mayor of Nicosia, had also sent a protest to Mr. Macmillan on the events of the past two days. (Associated Press, 22 January 1957.)

Editorial Comment: Notice the difference in the way the two sides are presented, and the failure to correct Kutchuk's blatant misrepresentation of what has been taking place. The provocation has been mostly on the Turkish Cypriot side, but Kutchuk is quoted at some length complaining about the "behaviour of the Greek Cypriots" and praising the Turkish Cypriots.

22 January 1957

The tragic deterioration of relations between Turks and Greeks in Cyprus... is causing the gravest concern [...]

Greek Cypriots complain that Turkish auxiliary policemen did nothing to check the excesses of their fellow-countrymen and they allege, certainly unjustifiably, that the Cyprus Government turns a blind eye to misdeeds of Turks while it stamps on Greek Cypriot offenders with unrelenting severity. Cases are cited of Greeks being shot by Turkish police, the latest being at Lyssi, where a Greek was shot dead, allegedly by two Turkish policemen, while another escaped with his life by shamming dead. The Greek story is that he took the numbers of his attackers.

The official version of the Lyssi affair is that two unknown men stopped two Greek Cypriots near the village of Vatili, ordered them into a car, and drove to a wood, where they shot them, leaving one dead and one wounded. The wounded man was unable to give any detailed description, but it is certain that no Turk was involved.

The truth is that Greek Cypriots no longer have confidence that the British administration is impartial between Greeks and Turks... (“Greek-Turk Tension In Cyprus,” The Times, 23 January 1957, p. 8.)

24 January 1957

Professor Nihat Erim, chairman of the Turkish committee entrusted with the task of examining the Radcliffe proposals for Cyprus self-government, is leaving to-day for London. It is expected that he will meet Lord Radcliffe to offer suggestions for ensuring the protection of the rights of the Turkish minority in Cyprus. Professor Erim has just been to Cyprus, where he called on Sir John Harding, the Governor, and had discussions with prominent members of the Turkish minority. (“Turkish Delegate For London,” The Times, 25 January 1957, p. 8.)

28 March 1957

Archbishop Makarios III was “released from exile on condition that he should not return to Cyprus. He and his fellow Cypriots left Seychelles on April 5, 1957 on board the Greek Tanker Olympic Thunder, after 13 months in exile.” (“50th Anniversary of the landing of Archbishop Makarios in Seychelles”, Seychelles Nation 14 March 2006.)

“In releasing Makarios, the British Cabinet had presumed on Turkish tolerance, but simultaneously provided assurances to Menderes and Zorlu that it did not prejudice the understanding over partition that had been reached with Lennox-Boyd...” (Britain and the Revolt in Cyprus, 1954-1959 by Robert Holland [OUP, 1998], p.193.)

6 May 1957

At a party congress in Edirne, Turkey, the Secretary General of the CHP party Kasim Gülek expressed the hope that “this Democratic Party administration will solve the Cyprus problem as the R.P.P. [CHP] administration solved the Hatay problem”. It was an election year and the opposition was spurring the Menderes government to take an even more proactive stance on Cyprus, by following Atatürk’s example in Alexandretta [renamed Hatay by Atatürk]. (See Mogens Pelt, Military Intervention and a Crisis Democracy in Turkey: The Menderes Era and Its Demise [I. B. Tauris, 2014], p. 110.)

24 July 1957

NICOSIA, July 24.—Dr. Fazil Kutchuk, the Turkish Cypriot leader, who returned from Ankara yesterday, said to-day that Turkey would claim the section of Cyprus north of the thirty-fifth parallel—about half the island—as the Turkish share under partition. It is the first time he has specified a dividing line for partition. He repeated that Turkey would insist on partition as a solution for the Cyprus problem... Dr. Kutchuk said it was a great sacrifice for Turkey to accept partition, as she had a right to claim the whole island—and she would do so if the partition proposal was not implemented. It was "too late" now to discuss the Radcliffe constitution offered by Britain, and Turkey had officially notified the British Government that in her view partition was the only possible solution. Similar notification had been given by Turkey to the United States, he said. (“Cyprus Partition Demand”, The Times, 25 July 1957, p. 10)

The same edition of the Times carried a shrewd riposte from C. M. Woodhouse on the following page:

Sir, —The leader of the “Cyprus is Turkish” association of Cyprus is reported on July 19 to have emphasized that “Turkish Cypriots, having the full support of the Turkish Government, were more than ever insistent on partition of the island.” But surely if they believe that “Cyprus is Turkish,” partition should be an utterly intolerable prospect to them, as it is to the Greeks? It might be worth reminding them, in their own interests, that the last time a comparable situation arose, it was settled by the Judgment of Solomon.

Next month Kutchuk went to Turkey again, returning to Cyprus with a Turkish newspaper columnist. They were met by a crowd of several thousands, and cries of ‘Taxim’ mingled with the bleating of a sacrificial sheep. Kutchuk said he had talked to Menderes and now he would like to see Cyprus partitioned along the 35th parallel, a considerable advance on the last claim. (Foley 1964, p. 100.)

Editorial Comment: The Cyprus is Turkish Party published a 47 page pamphlet by Fazil Kuchuk with the title The Cyprus Question. A Permanent Solution. On the cover was a map of Cyprus partitioned along the 35th parallel. (Illustration from Hitchens 1997, p. 10.) In Kuchuk’s “permanent solution”, the minority population of 18% gets half of the island, the three most important cities, including the capital, and the lion’s share of the fertile plains and coastline. In order for the Turkish Cypriots to acquire this most generous half, many thousands more Greek Cypriots would have to be relocated than the total number of Turkish Cypriots on the island.

13 August 1957

A Special Branch report for August 1957 by A. F. Thomson, Chief Superintendent of Police in Cyprus, records that Hasan Nevzat Karagil, a lawyer and the General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Cultural League [Kıbrıs Türk Kültür Derneği] in Istanbul, arrived in Cyprus ostensibly to visit his parents in the Famagusta region. He was allowed into Cyprus on a 3 month visa but, the report notes, is unlikely to avoid political activities. This is the same Hasan Nevzat Karagil who was expelled from the UK in 1952 for agitating for the return of Cyprus to Turkey. (Fanoula Argyrou, “Τούρκοι: Διχοτόμηση, η μόνη λύση,” Σημερινή [Simerini], 23 Nov. 2010.)

Nevzat Karagil would be defence counsel representing the former Foreign Minister, Mr. Fatin Zorlu, in the Yassiada trials of 1960. (“Bomb Delivered To British”, The Times, November 10, 1960, Page 9.)

17 August 1957

“When half of this island becomes Turkish, we will give you the same prosperity as given to the greeks of Istanbul.” (From a leaflet claiming to be from the 9th September Front [9 Eylül Cephesi] and addressed to all Greek Cypriots.)

Editorial Comment: The organisation 9th September Front was founded by Ulus Ülfet. Ironically, he was killed a few weeks later making bombs, in the incident of 1 September 1957 (see below). (Sources: Athanasiades 1998, p. 50; Argyrou 2009, p. 252.)
The 9th of September was the day on which Turkish troops entered Smyrna (Izmir) in 1922, following the defeat of the Greek army at the Battle of Dumlupınar. For Turks it marks a high point in the Turkish War of Independence, a war waged against the Allies after Asia Minor was occupied following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the 1st World War. It was the Turkish War of Independence which led to the creation of Turkey the nation state.
The Greeks of Istanbul were a minority community that existed in Turkey on sufferance, so the promise being made here contains the implication that the Greek Cypriots—the majority indigenous population of the island—will also exist in Cyprus on sufferance. Also implied is the idea that when the island is partitioned the Turkish Cypriots will once again be a ruling minority as they were during the period of Ottoman rule, with the power to grant or withhold.
The Greeks of Istanbul may have once been prosperous, but, as outlined above, in 1955 they were subjected to an attack by Turkish mobs, which was secretly organised by the Turkish Government. It was an attack from which the community was never allowed to recover, and which marked the beginning of a rapid decline as one repressive measure followed another. (See “Greek community in Turkey fears for its survival”, by Jonathan Head, 7 January 2011.)

1 September 1957

Three Turks [bomb-makers] were seriously wounded and one killed by a bomb explosion early to-day at a Turkish house in the village of Omorfita, just outside Nicosia. The incident has given rise to a belief that some Turkish Cypriots are dabbling with explosives for use against Greeks should the Eoka terrorists become active again. One of the men said they were examining an object which they had found outside the house when it exploded. A police spokesman said bombs were found inside the house. (The Times, 2 September 1957, p. 6.)

And when in 1958 the Turkish Cypriot teacher Sevim Ülfet found herself face to face with Denktash, in Nalbantoglu’s clinic which was full off dead and wounded (She too had been burnt by death because her brother Ulus Ülfet had just been blown up in Kaimakli by a bomb he was making to use against the Greeks.), she said to Denktash, “For God’s sake, order the killings to stop at last.” He replied as follows: “These dead are useful to us. With them we will make our voice be heard in the world.” (Arif Hasan Tahsin, Η άνοδος του Ντενκτάς στην κορυφή, μετάφραση Θανάσης Χαρανάς [Nicosia: Αρχείο, 2001], p. 51. My translation.)

Next month Kutchuk went to Turkey again, returning to Cyprus with a Turkish newspaper columnist. They were met by a crowd of several thousands, and cries of ‘Taxim’ mingled with the bleating of a sacrificial sheep. Kutchuk said he had talked to Menderes and now he would like to see Cyprus partitioned along the 35th parallel, a considerable advance on the last claim. The Istanbul newspaperman soon found that ‘countless barbarities’ were being practised on Turkish-Cypriots, whose women and children were regularly assaulted by savage Greeks. Although Government House described the reports as ‘fabricated’ they continued unabated into September, until one Sunday morning there came a rumour of an explosion in the suburb of Omorphita. We went to investigate.
Driving down the long, broad bypass road we could see from half a mile away the familiar signs of an ‘incident’. The black police trucks, the soldiers standing over them with rifles at the ready, the bunch of plain-clothes police in the garden. But the atmosphere was unusual. There were no angry faces, no people up against the wall for a search. I asked what had happened.
‘Turkish blokes blew themselves up,’ a soldier said.
A room at the back of the house was filled with torn bedding and smashed chairs. Bits of wreckage floated in pools of water left by the fire-hoses, for the explosion had set the house ablaze. A chest-expander hung down from the wall beside a picture of Doris Day. On the other side was a sketch of Kemal Ataturk. There was blood on the bedding. The policeman said they had found sixteen more bombs hidden in a rabbit hutch outside. One man was killed outright but another three lingered on for some days, horribly burned and mutilated. They were given a patriotic funeral, with Turkish flags, speeches, and much weeping.
Obviously the amateur bomb-makers were only part of a larger organization. Soon Turkish leaflets appeared, ordering their own people to have no dealings with the Greeks; others threatened to destroy Greek property. ‘Partition or death’ was their refrain. (Foley 1964, pp. 100-101.)

4 September 1957
Cyprus Mail

9 October 1957

“The favourite rumour of 1957 came true on October 9 when it was announced that Sir John Harding was to go: he had asked to be relieved of the Governorship and Whitehall had ‘reluctantly agreed’ .” (Charles Foley, Island in Revolt [Longmans, 1962], p. 159.)

17 October 1957

Rumors continue that Turkish Cypriots may be building up secret arms caches. Although leaders in Athens and among the Greek Cypriots have previously accused the Turks on the mainland of supplying these weapons, the Turkish newspapers have only recently indicated that these accusations may be true. Whereas few incidents between Turkish and Greek Cypriots occurred during previous periods of violence, dangerous intercommunal strife is likely if the Greek Cypriot extremists again engage in widespread acts of terrorism. (Current Intelligence Weekly Summary, CIA, 17 October 1957 [DOC_0000621950.pdf].)

22 October 1957

The Colonial Office officially announced that Sir Hugh Foot would succeed Field-Marshal Sir John Harding as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Cyprus, and that he would take up his new duties around the 1st of December. (“Reasons for Change in Cyprus Governorship,” The Times, 22 October 1957, p. 7.)

According to the Times, “Dr. Kutchuk... struck an ominous note in suggesting that [....] possible relaxation of emergency measures and the return of Archbishop Makarios would ‘encourage and provoke the Greeks to show hatred to the Turks,’ who would not sit idle in the face of attack.” (“Misgivings About New Era,” The Times, 22 October 1957, p. 7.)

Note: It had already been reported in the Times (19 October) that news of the appointment of Sir Hugh Foot to succeed Harding as Governor “had reached London from Jamaica”. Strangely, the same report incorporated a mention of the Greek Government’s complaints to the European Commission for Human Rights regarding the British authorities’ use of torture and ill-treatment in Cyprus; and of the news that visas had been requested for members of the ECHR to go to Cyprus and investigate. (“Governor of Cyprus,” The Times, 19 October 1957, p. 6.)

Could it be that Harding’s imminent departure from the island was linked to the ECHR investigation?

29 November 1957
TMT Bulletin Number One

Leaflets circulated overnight in the main towns of Cyprus have announced the formation of a “Turkish resistance organization” to protect the island’s Turkish community “against any kind of attacks.” The new organization, known as “T.M.T.” replaces the Volkan, a smaller Turkish underground organization.
  Headed “Bulletin Number One,” the leaflets called on every Cypriot Turk to “stand by for our instructions.” (Reuter, The Times, 30 November 1957)

Note: TMT is an acronym for Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı, i.e., Turkish Resistance Organisation.

According to Rauf Denktash, the TMT was founded by three people: the Administrative Attaché of the Turkish Consulate Kemal Tanrisevdi, Burhan Nalbantoglu, and himself. (Kibris 16 June 2000. Cited in “Denktash: Three people established the TMT”.)

Elsewhere Denktash has stated:

“... the TMT was established ... for distributing the leaflets, for neutralizing ‘Volkan’ at the beginning, until Turkey took it over.” (Costas Yennaris interview with Rauf Denktash, Nicosia, 14 February 2001. Broadcast on CyBC TV, March 8.)

  “I had set up the TMT (Turkish resistance movement) with a few friends to organize the individuals who were rushing around doing things.”
  “When the TMT issued its first pamphlet, taking over from its predecessor, Volkan, Dr Kutcuk asked who these fools were. We had not told him about TMT. He was happy with Volkan. He never got out of the feeling that he was left out of it.”
  “For a few years he was most uncomfortable about it. But he trusted me and if he had any worries he would come to me and I would placate him. We did not allow TMT to become an underground terrorist organization.”
  ... “Eventually TMT became more than a military force, it became a moral force. Everybody thought I was the leader but I was not. I was political adviser. Immediately after forming it I handed it over. It was a good mask because even the British and American intelligence thought I was the man who ran and decided everything. I was not.” The leaders, he said, were former army officers from Turkey. (“The politics of resistance that divided Greek from Turk,” The Times 20 January 1978, p. 17.)

Editorial Comment: One has to wonder just what is meant by the statement: “We did not allow TMT to become an underground terrorist organization.” In the period from May to July 1958—before the handover of the TMT to Turkish Army officers—at least six Turkish Cypriots who disagreed with TMT’s policies and were in favour of Greek-Turkish cooperation in Cyprus were targeted for assassination. Only two survived the assassination attempts. Moreover the period between the founding of the TMT and its handover to Colonel Rıza Vuruşkan was one of the bloodiest in terms of violent intercommunal clashes—clashes initiated by Turkish Cypriots who presumably had “stood by for instructions” and were now following orders.
Also questionable is Denktash’s statement that after the handover, the leaders “were former army officers from Turkey”. If he is referring to the handover to Colonel Vuruşkan, the statement is not true. Vuruşkan and his companions were serving officers of the Turkish Army seconded to the TMT, and the handover did not happen “immediately”. The TMT was very active for eight months prior to being “handed over”. If Denktash was not the leader during the bloody months of January to July 1958, who was? Or, to rephrase the question, who was responsible for unleashing the indiscriminate violence of the intercommunal clashes?

“In the old days, there was fear of the Organization. The TMT had spread fear, so that the Turkish-Cypriots would obey them. The TMT threatened people, killed many. Often the TMT didn’t even hide that they were behind the murder of Turkish-Cypriots. Otherwise, if they hadn’t spread this terror, they wouldn’t have been able to make people submit to their authority.” (Ahmet Bey, a former member of the TMT. Quoted in Yashin 2009, p. 108.)

3 December 1957

The new Governor Sir Hugh Foot arrived in Cyprus.

“I come with an open mind and no prejudice. We can together find a way out of our anxieties and perplexities. I am sure nothing but disaster can come if we neglect the opportunity now before us.” (“Opportunity In Cyprus”, The Times, 4 December 1957, p. 10.)

5 December 1957

Three Turks aged 60, 25, and 40 were found murdered in a forest near Paphos. They were from the village of Melandra, and were in the area of Abdoullina to work on an irrigation project. It is not known who was responsible. It is believed they were killed with an axe. (“Three Turkish Cypriots Murdered”, The Times, December 6, 1957, p. 10.)

Editorial Comment: The report speculates that the murders may have been connected with a village vendetta, and dismisses the possibility that it was an Eoka killing, without mentioning that EOKA had called a truce in order to give the new Governor a chance, and that it did not, as a rule, target Turkish Cypriots. The possibility that it was a TMT killing is not considered.

9-10 December 1957

The Governor urged the latter [Dr Kucuk] on 9 December to avoid any provocative responses, whilst his deputy, George Sinclair, who was also present, reminded the Turkish-Cypriot leader of their close cooperation during Harding’s time, and reiterated ‘the requirements of the close alliance existing between HMG and the Turkish Government’. Such talk of ‘alliance’ illustrated an increasingly desperate attempt to keep the Turks on board. Kucuk’s reply—that his community always followed instructions sent from Ankara, [my emphasis] and that so far at least these had not extended to doing anything to undermine the British presence—was by no means wholly reassuring. [Holland's source: Minutes of Governor’s meeting with Dr Kucuk, 9 Dec. 1957, C0926/643.]

The following day the meaning of Kucuk’s qualification was made plainer. A disturbance broke out around the Pancyprian Gymnasium. It was like old times, with Greek youths shouting slogans, burning Union flags and lobbing missiles at the Police. Yet whereas in the past during such riots the Turks had gone about their usual business inside their own quarter, on this occasion—whipped up by news that a Turkish policeman had been wounded—a Muslim crowd gathered and proceeded to cross into the Greek zone, smashing and burning several shops as they went. The Security Forces rushed to close the communal boundary with barbed wire, but not before several hundred had been hurt. Nicosia was curfewed for the first time for months, and there were smaller outbreaks in other towns. [....]

For the first time, Consul Belcher told Washington, the inter-communal tension had escalated into ‘a very dangerous factor’. He also passed on the reports coming into his consulate that amidst the hubbub British officers had experienced great difficulty in restraining Turkish Auxiliaries from using excessive force in dealing with demonstrators. [Belcher, telegram, 9 Dec. 1957, RG59, State Department Records, Box 3282, USNA.] (Holland 1998, pp.219-220.)

10 December 1957

An English journalist was shot at by two Turks outside the offices of the Cyprus Mail, of which he is assistant editor. He escaped injury... (“Nicosia School Stormed”, The Times, December 11, 1957, p. 10.)

... a Turkish policeman was shot by a Greek. Though he was not seriously injured a report spread in the Turkish quarter that he had been killed. Angry Turks gathered in Ataturk Square and, advancing towards the Greek quarter, began to wreak vengeance on Greek shopkeepers and others. Two lorries were overturned and set on fire, windows were smashed, and shots fired at random into the air. Eventually the police brought the situation under control. (“Nicosia School Stormed”, The Times, December 11, 1957, p. 10.)

Editorial Comment: At that time EOKA had called a truce in order to give the new Governor a chance, so it is unlikely that an EOKA man would have been at a rally armed with a gun. It is also unlikely that any Greek not in Eoka would have used a firearm at a demonstration: the death penalty was mandatory for such an offence. Charles Foley reveals what actually happened:

His [the new Governor's] first test came with the U.N. debate. An Eoka leaflet ordered the usual one-day strike, which meant a flag-waving march to the Greek Consulate. Trouble might have been avoided, that year, if a peaceful procession through the Greek sector had been allowed by way of a goodwill gesture. But Foot’s officials had said the demonstrators might turn into the Turkish quarter and so no risks could be taken. He had to show faith in his Security experts.

The result was that by the end of the morning some forty police and troops as well as one hundred students had been injured. One of the casualties was a Turkish policeman who had been shot in the buttocks. In revenge, a crowd of 500 Turkish youths crossed the unguarded Mason-Dixon line and created the customary havoc, wrecking, looting, and burning, while Turkish Cypriot leaders protested against ‘the murder of our policeman’. A cable to Menderes declaring that every Turkish village faced a massacre was followed by a formal protest to Britain. The injured policeman (officially said to be ‘comfortable’ in hospital) was found to have been accidentally shot by a colleague while they were pursuing the same Greek schoolboy, but this fact the authorities unaccountably failed to publish. (Foley 1964, pp. 106-7.)

14 December 1957

Last night fire gutted the offices of the Greek newspaper Alithia, and police are investigating reports that the fire had been caused by an explosion. The editor of Alithia alleged last night that he had received threatening letters in Turkish. (“Cypriot Rioter Killed”, The Times, December 16, 1957, p. 8.)

Forensic experts have completed an examination of the gutted building of the newspaper Alithia which was destroyed by fire on Saturday night. Arson had been widely suspected but the official verdict is that there is no evidence to support this. (“Cyprus Convoy Attacked”, The Times, December 18, 1957, p. 6.)

26 December 1957

“Three Greek Cypriots were murdered by masked men in Cyprus to-day.” Vassilis Michael was beaten to death in the village of Ayios Ambrosios; Andreas Epiphaniol was stabbed outside his home near Famagusta; and “in the west Cyprus village of Loutros, a chauffeur, Christodoulos Solomiou. aged 40, was hacked to death with axes while he was in bed.” (“Risks Worth Taking in Cyprus”, The Times, 27 December 1957, p. 5.)

The authorities announced that Vassilis Michael was “in fact gravely injured, but was ‘making progress’ in hospital... Inquiries showed there was no political motive in either case.” (“Discussions with Cyprus Turks”, The Times, 28 December 1957, p. 5.)

Editorial Comment: Noting the use of axes, and the geographical proximity, one wonders if the third murder, which is not mentioned in the follow up report, was linked to the murders of 5 December 1957.

31 December 1957

Kuchuk and the Turkish Consul-General at Nicosia were called to Ankara for consultations. Kuchuk was “received by the Turkish Foreign Minister, and reported to him on the present situation in the island.” (The Times, 31 December 1957, p. 5; and 2 December 1957, p. 8.)

Editorial Comment: Turkey was worried about the new Governor Sir Hugh Foot, who was reputed to be a liberal, and also by the possibility that the Labour party would win power at the next elections in the UK. Presumably the TMT, and the tactics to be followed while the Baghdad Pact Meeting in Ankara on 27-30 January 1958 was taking place were also topics of conversation. On the other hand it is equally likely that the Consul-General and Kuchuk, who did not return to Cyprus until the 3rd of February, were called to Turkey to get them out of the way, and give Denktash, Tanrisevdi, and the TMT a free hand. In comparison to Kuchuk, Denktash was a far more ruthless leader.

1958: The Pit of Hell

1-30 January 1958
My Masters in London

The peace plan which Sir Hugh Foot [the new Governor of Cyprus] took to the Cabinet in January sprang from his theory that the best way around a deadlock was to reduce temperatures and work on whatever was practicable, leaving an ultimate solution until political passions were spent. Five to seven years of colonial self-government would be allowed for tempers to cool and after that Cyprus would have the opportunity to decide her own future, with the proviso that if the majority still wanted Enosis they could have it only with Turkey’s approval.

Since the plan was obviously more acceptable to the Turks than to the Greeks, Foot intended to fly from London to Athens, after gaining the Cabinet’s approval for the proposals, and win over the Archbishop. That done, he would return to Nicosia and announce the plan. The Emergency would end, Makarios would return, and the remaining detainees would be released, all in a matter of weeks.

Foot had reckoned with everything except Menderes, who was more interested in forcing the highest possible price for appeasement than in reducing tension. When Selwyn Lloyd flew to present these new ideas to the Turks in Ankara he was summarily asked to furnish a chart for the quick partition of Cyprus and given a strong hint that a Turkish Cypriot counterpart to Eoka was ready to start work. [A reference to the newly formed TMT.] Lloyd called in Sir Hugh.

The Governor’s arrival in Ankara [26 January] was a signal for mass demonstrations by Turkish Cypriots, who shouted, ‘Down with Foot!’ and ‘Long live Harding!’ The riots far surpassed anything staged by the Greeks. Troops had to be used in force for the first time against the Turks, of whom seven were killed. The British were appalled. Mr George Sinclair, the acting Governor, broadcast his ‘intense grief that the Security forces, in the discharge of their duty, should have caused the deaths of members of the Turkish community’.

Menderes refused to talk to Foot, who was housed with Selwyn Lloyd in an Embassy guarded by Turkish bayonets and machine guns, while demonstrators shouted for their blood. Zorlu was ordered to deliver the coup de grâce and berated Foot like Hitler dealing with an errant Balkan Minister. Cyprus had been filled with the slaughtered bodies of men, women and children to win the favour of a bloodstained priest in Athens! If the Governor wanted a revolution the Turks would give him one—and the Turkish army would not be far behind.

The Cyprus plan was dropped, and in return Menderes promised to call off the riots, while Selwyn Lloyd hurried home with no word for the reporters. Dr Kutchuk, who had been in the wings at Ankara, returned to Cyprus in triumph. Reporters were given details of how half the island would become a Turkish province. Asked whether, if Britain refused, this would mean war, Kutchuk replied, ‘I wouldn’t like to say how far Turkey may not go.’

It only remained for Foot to say that his talks in Ankara had been ‘most valuable’ in helping him to understand the viewpoint of the Turkish Government and to add: ‘I also wish most respectfully to express the deep gratitude of all of us to the Prime Minister of Turkey for his appeal stressing the importance of Anglo-Turkish friendship and calling for calm and patience. I should also like to record my heartfelt gratitude to those leaders of the Turkish community who have worked so courageously to reduce tension and prevent further loss of life.’

‘I have looked’, he told me privately, ‘into the pit of hell.’ (Foley 1964, pp. 111-2.)

5 January 1958

It was broadcast on Ankara radio that: “in spite of optimistic statements by Cyprus officials and the Cyprus radio, relations between the Turkish and Greek communities in Cyprus were very strained, and there was little hope of an improvement. The Turkish Government, fully supported by Turkish public opinion, consequently persisted in its view that the only satisfactory solution of the tangle was partition.” (“Turkey Insists on Partition”, The Times, 7 January 1958, p. 6.)

6 January 1958

Mr. Zorlu said that... the Cyprus issue must be examined both from the viewpoint of the Turkish community on the island and the national interest and security of 25 million Turks. Those who ignored this dual aspect of the issue were not contributing to the “solidarity of the peace front and the cause of peace.”

Dr. Kutchuk said that events had proved that the Turkish and Greek communities could not live peacefully together... The time had come when the Turks would be forced to take measures for their self-defence. (“Dual Aspect of Cyprus Issue: Partition Still Turkish Solution”, The Times, 8 January 1958, p. 6.)

18 January 1958
Letter From Prime Minister Menderes to President Eisenhower

... As I have endeavoured to explain in detail when I had the honor of meeting with you, the importance of Cyprus for the security of Turkey is indeed very great. Moreover the future and fate of our brothers in Cyprus constitutes a national cause upon which the Turkish nation dwells with utmost sensitivity. Consequently, it would have been logical for Turkey to insist on the retrocession of the Island to its former possessor, in the event of a change in the international status of Cyprus. Turkey, however, fully aware of the necessity of finding an early solution to this dispute which is upsetting the unity of the free world, at the expense of sacrificing her rights in this cause, followed a conciliatory and moderate course of action and accepted the principle of partition which was advanced as a compromise solution. In this connection, I would like to emphasize this important point: The idea of partition is not a proposal advanced by Turkey. This idea was first put forth by Greece and then supported by the United Kingdom as a compromise solution, and was accepted as such by Turkey.

[Note (appended by the Office of the Historian): The reference is unclear. The first British Parliamentary discussions on a possible partition took place in July 1956. The British regarded partition as the least favorable solution to the Cyprus problem. No references to a Greek proposal for partition were found.]

This should suffice to indicate that the solution of the dispute through partition should in no way represent a strange and adverse solution and should not, therefore be considered as an unwelcome solution by the interested parties. It should be realized that since 80% of the Greek population of the Island is known to be communistic any solution which would make it possible for the communist elements to assume a dominating position on the Island would constitute a danger for all peace loving nations and particularly for the NATO community. [Editor's Note: The communist vote in Cyprus has never amounted to more than 30%.] Viewed in this context and considering the security of Turkey, the true extent of Turkey's sacrifice in accepting partition will be duly appreciated and accepted...

(Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Menderes. No classification marking.
Available at http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v10p1/d175 .)

21 January 1958

“... ominous developments earlier in the day when Turkish crowds—mostly youths and children—demonstrated in Nicosia and Famagusta in protest against what they regard as the “pro-Greek” policy of Sir Hugh Foot. [...] The demonstrators carried placards bearing the words: “To the Governor. You are allied to the Greeks. You can bring no solution to Cyprus. Go away.” (“Violence Again In Famagusta”, The Times, 22 January 1958, p. 8.)

25 January 1958

There was a “serious disturbance by a Turkish mob” at Limassol... a crowd of “some 300 Turks” agitated for partition. The demonstrators held banners with slogans such as “Give us partition” and “Foot, get in your plane and go.” When they resisted dispersal the police used tear gas. An official statement reported that two rioters and ten Turkish policemen were slightly injured. There were only two arrests. (“Turkish Rioters Stone Police at Limassol”, The Times, 27 January 1958, p. 6.)

26 January 1958

Sir Hugh Foot left Nicosia for Ankara for consultations about Cyprus with Mr. Selwyn Lloyd. (“Turkish Rioters Stone Police at Limassol”, The Times, 27 January 1958, p. 6.)

27-30 January 1958
Baghdad Pact Meeting in Ankara

A Ministerial Council session of the Baghdad Pact was scheduled to take place in Ankara from the 27th to the 30th of January 1958. The members of the Baghdad Pact alliance were Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, and the UK. The US, although not a member, sent an observer delegation led by the Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. The UK sent Selwyn Lloyd, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who left London for Ankara on the 24th of January. (The Times, 22 January 1958, p. 8.)

Editorial Comment: Turkey clearly regarded this as a golden opportunity to impress upon Britain and the US its determination to pursue its claims regarding Cyprus. A performance featuring explosions, demonstrations, and, in Cyprus, rioting and arson was organised to coincide with the conference. The Governor of Cyprus Sir Hugh Foot flew to Ankara on the 26th of January. In his absence, the British security forces in Cyprus were surprised to find themselves facing determinedly riotous crowds of Turkish Cypriots...

“The first day of the conference, Dulles told Eisenhower, was ‘ushered in at midnight with two attempts to blow up the American Embassy Chancery and the American Library.’ Dulles related to the President that he slept through the commotion and quoted Turkish Prime Minister Menderes’ view that the bombs, which caused little damage and no personal injury, were a Communist demonstration against the Pact and Dulles himself.” (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Volume XII, Near East Region; Iraq; Iran; Arabian Peninsula, Document 6.)

27 January 1958

Early in the morning about thirty Turkish Cypriot youths put up Turkish flags in Nicosia’s Ataturk Square. Later a crowd of Turkish Cypriots gathered and refused to comply when told to move on by a British police officer. The crowd was dispersed with tear gas, but as it moved away in a procession down Kyrenia Street, a number of Turkish youths attacked a Greek Cypriot photographer for the Cyprus Mail. He was “knocked down, beaten, and kicked, and his camera smashed”.

In the afternoon another crowd assembled to hear Denktash. The crowd stoned a British Army truck as it tried to get through the mass of people. When the truck forced its way through a group hemming it in, one Turkish rioter was killed and three were seriously injured. The crowd then attacked the police, and the rally turned into a pitched battle.

The security forces sealed off Ataturk Square and the demonstrators were compelled to head down Kyrenia Street towards the Kyrenia gate. There they set fire to a garage owned by a Greek Cypriot.

Rioters then occupied the bastions of the Kyrenia gate and pelted troops and police with stones, thus preventing any attempt to put out the fire.

The Ardath Tobacco Company’s factory near Ataturk Square was also set alight, and fire engines were hampered by demonstrators. The damage was extensive. (“Grave Riots In Cyprus”, The Times, 28 January 1958, p. 8.)

28 January 1958

Before dawn armoured cars and troops took up positions around the Turkish quarter of Nicosia. Before long Turkish Cypriot demonstrators began throwing stones and bottles, and the troops had to resort to tear-gas. The battle outside the old city walls lasted for some hours.

A taxi full of Turkish Cypriot youths drove through a road block manned by troops, and then sped towards another road block made up of a single line of troops. The troops were forced to jump aside, and opened fire as the cab sped away towards a third road block near the Kyrenia Gate. Three of the youths died in the shooting.

In Famagusta two Turkish Cypriots were killed when they tried to break out of the Old City after a curfew had been imposed. (“Five Turks Killed in Cyprus,” The Times, 29 January 1958, p. 8.)

No sooner was Foot virtually incarcerated in the Embassy in Ankara, than serious mayhem broke out in Nicosia. Fanning out from the epicentre in Ataturk Square, Turkish demonstrators clashed for the first time with Security Forces. Greek crowds had often done the same, but almost without exception only when their line of route had been barred. On this occasion there was a different pattern in which groups of Turks appeared to go out of their way to come up against British soldiers, often sweeping aside road blocks as they went. A perturbing, if very predictable, aspect was that the Turkish branches of the Police proved useless, with ‘Mobile Reserves’ decanting into Ataturk Square from a side-street, but once there, standing aimlessly about as the trouble swirled around it. Greek observers alleged that the British Army was late arriving to restore order, and when troops did appear on the scene, they were loath to deal effectively with rioting Turks. (Holland 1998, p. 228.)

On 28/29 January the disorders started up again, only on a wider scale, affecting other Cypriot towns with large Turkish populations. Over these two days five more Turks were killed, and for the first time the Turkish quarter of Nicosia was put under curfew. These events inevitably overshadowed the Anglo-Turkish talks in Ankara. To Foot, the most striking thing was that the Turkish Government made absolutely no attempt to conceal that ‘the disorders [in Cyprus] were both started and stopped on directions from the Turkish Government’ [My emphasis]; whilst in trying to talk frankly to their hosts the Governor felt that they were merely ‘beating our heads against a wall’. [Foot to Lennox-Boyd, 31 Jan. 1958, CO926/1074.] When Selwyn Lloyd told Zorlu that he must call off the riots once and for all, the latter simply said that he did not deal with the Turkish-Cypriots, since only the Turkish military authorities could do that. Lloyd replied that he would take up later on what the Turkish Army was doing issuing orders in a British colony, but there is no evidence that he ever did so. (Holland 1998, p. 229.)

30 January 1958

ANKARA, Jan. 30.—Mr. Zorlu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, addressing reporters at a reception given by Mr. Menderes early to-day, was asked how Anglo-Turkish exchanges on the future of Cyprus were progressing. He replied: “Not too badly.” In answer to further questions, he declared: “Turkey considers that there is an implicit agreement with Britain that the British Government will take no action to settle the Cyprus question without Turkish approval.”—Associated Press. (“Final Baghdad Pact Meeting To-Day”, The Times, January 30, 1958, p. 8.)

NICOSIA, JAN. 30—The Governor of Cyprus, Sir Hugh Foot, arrived back from Ankara at midday to-day and almost immediately went into conference with his senior advisers on the situation in the island. In a statement at the airport he expressed his distress at the “terrible events” of the past three days, and said his first reaction had been to return immediately. He had decided, however, that it was more important at this time to remain at Ankara to give help and advice to the Foreign Secretary. Mr. Selwyn Lloyd. (“Governor Returns”, The Times, January 31, 1958, p. 8.)

ISTANBUL, JAN. 30—Turkish newspapers this morning had heavy black headlines as a sign of mourning for the loss of Turkish lives in the rioting in Cyprus; and Turkish broadcasting stations have suppressed their music programmes on days of funerals. (“Papers in Mourning”, The Times, January 31, 1958, p. 8.)

3 February 1958

NICOSIA, FEB. 3—Flags were flying to-day in the Turkish quarter of Nicosia to welcome the return of Dr. Kutchuk, leader of the “Cyprus is Turkish” party, to the island. Dr. Kutchuk has been in Turkey for the past four weeks. A large and enthusiastic crowd gathered outside his house this morning and gave him a great ovation when he appeared on the balcony.

Speaking to the crowd, Dr. Kutchuk said he had found everywhere in Turkey strong support for the Turkish Cypriot cause. Their case was in the good hands of the leaders of Turkey, and he was acting under the instructions he had received there...

“I want you to show the world that we are a peaceful community,” he continued... He added: “The Greek idea of enosis is buried once and for all.” Partition was the only solution... (“Cyprus Appeal To Turks”, The Times 4 February 1958, p. 8.)

On his return from Ankara, Kuchuk was accompanied by Osman Örek of Kıbrıs Türktür, Ahmet Emin Yalman, the founder and chief editor of the newspaper Vatan, and Necati Zincirkıran, correspondent for the newspaper Hürriyet. (Fanoula Argyrou, “Οι εκβιασμοί των μασκοφόρων,” Σημερινή [Simerini], 27 Nov. 2010.)

4 February 1958

Nicosia, Feb. 4—Dr. Kutchuk, leader of the “Cyprus is Turkish” Party, said here to-day that nothing that had happened in Ankara in any way altered the policy of Turkey or the Turks in Cyprus. They still insisted that partition was the only solution, and Dr. Kutchuk described as “the greatest concession” the Turkish Government’s acceptance of this instead of demanding the whole island...

Dr. Kutchuk... said Turkish Cypriots had now left the matter to the Turkish Government. He believed it would be impossible for the British Government to take any decision without Turkish agreement, and said the matter was looked at in the same light as it would be if one of the Turkish provinces was affected. He emphasized that under partition the Turkish sector would be run as a Turkish province... “the British are still trying to find an exploratory administration for Cyprus. I am amazed to see they still insist on pursuing the question of self-government... (“Turkish Insistence on Partition”, The Times, 5 February 1958, p. 6.)

9 March 1958

The Turkish terrorist organization known as T.M.T. (a development of Volkan) has also been busy, but with words rather than deeds. [sic] In a lengthy leaflet issued yesterday and addressed to Turkish villagers, it declares that Turks will never live along with Greeks and will “prefer death to being enslaved by Greeks.” Using all the blood-curdling vocabulary of Cypriot terrorist propaganda, the leaflet continues: “Turks and Muslims know how to die for their country. Turks and Muslims are of two types—those who kill their enemies with guns, sticks, and knives, and those who help the killers to escape.” The leaflet ends with the exhortation: “Be ready to start at any minute and expect a general order.” (The Times 10 March 1958, p. 8)

3 April 1958

Turkish Cypriots and much of the press in Turkey have grown increasingly hostile to Governor Foot since British security forces killed several Turkish Cypriots in suppressing Turkish riots in January. Foot’s action in permitting the 25 March processions has given further impetus to this hostility. (Current Intelligence Weekly Summary, CIA, 3 April 1958 [DOC_0000627444])

5 April 1958

A group of Turkish Cypriots went to the village of Galinoporni and reproached the hodja [Turkish priest] who had prayed together with Greek Cypriot priests for termination of the drought. The Turkish Cypriot extremists also reproached the Turkish Cypriot population of the village for welcoming the Greek Cypriots and offering them food, because, they said, this behaviour contradicts those who say that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots cannot live together in peace. (Eleftheria [Cypriot newspaper], 5 April 1958. Cited at http://agrino.org/humrights/agrsion/agrsion.htm.)

19 May 1958

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd): “The Government... intend to announce their policy in the House as soon as possible after the Whitsun Recess, and in any case not later than Tuesday, 17th June.” (House of Commons Debate, 19 May 1958, vol 588, cc891-3.)

22 May 1958

The TMT attempted to assasinate Ahmet Sadi Erkut, the Director of the Turkish Office of AKEL’s trade union the PEO (Pancyprian Workers Federation), “but his wife saved him taking the bullets herself”, and he was merely wounded. After Fazil Onder was killed, Ahmet Sadi fled to Britain. (Ahmet Djavit An, “Good Old Days of Cooperation within the Working Class of Cyprus”; Sevgül Uludağ, “The Slow Burial of the Patterns of ‘Nationalism’”, Αλήθεια, 26 September 2004; Farid Mirbagheri, Historical Dictionary of Cyprus [Scarecrow Press, 2010] pp. 143-4.)

24 May 1958

Fazil Onder, formerly Chief Editor of the banned weekly newspaper İnkılâpçı, was murdered by the TMT. See also “13 September 1955” and “12 December 1955”. (Ahmet Djavit An, “Good Old Days of Cooperation within the Working Class of Cyprus”.)

29 May 1958

Ahmet Yahya, a committee member of the progressive Turkish Cypriot Athletic-Cultural Centre, was killed in his bed.

“... Turkish Cypriots were forced to resign from PEO and give an advertisement in the Turkish Cypriot newspapers that ‘They have nothing to do with PEO or the communists…’

[ ...] Ahmet Yahya a barber was killed in his bed on the 29th of May 1958. He had given an advertisement in the newspapers about his resignation from PEO. The advertisement was printed on the day he was killed so you can see that his resignation from PEO and the announcement of his death appears in the same newspaper at that time. Another veteran trade unionist, Hulus Halil Ibrahim was threatened so he escaped to London to save his life.”

“Kamil [Tuncel] escaped death [a] couple of times but he was on the ‘hitlist’ of TMT [....] Kamil gave an advertisement in a newspaper to save his head.

He told us of a scene which I will never forget – one night the hitmen of TMT come and take him to Cetinkaya to have dinner. All of them are eating and drinking and Kamil is sitting there, frozen, not knowing what will happen to his life. They tell him ‘It’s okay, you don’t need to worry, you have resigned from PEO…’ But the scene gets stuck in my heart and I can imagine what sort of suffering he went through all these years on this island, having to live under death threats, having lost some of his friends in the struggle, having had to bury them and still try to survive with human dignity.” (Sevgül Uludağ, “The Slow Burial of the Patterns of ‘Nationalism’”, Αλήθεια, 26 September 2004.)

29 May 1958

Persuading the Turks to remain passive in the interregnum before 17 June became the overwhelming priority in Nicosia and London. When Ambassador Bowker saw Zorlu on 29 May and assured him that the proposed statement did not prejudice the Turkish position in any way, Zorlu replied that he ‘would be inclined to make things difficult for Her Majesty’s Government’. The Turkish Foreign Minister’s cool, dark understatements were always a signal of acute danger; in the following days Bowker was to be exposed to the most aggressive pressure from his hosts during the period of his ambassadorship. (Holland 1998, pp. 250-251. Source: Bowker, telegram to Foreign Office, 29 May 1958, FO37I/136385, RGC10344/173.)

5 June 1958

An attempt was made on the life of Hasan Ali, a member of the board of the Construction Workers Union affiliated with the Pancyprian Labour Federation. (Costas Yennaris, From The East: Conflict And Partition In Cyprus, 2003, p. 127.)

6 June 1958

The Cyprus administration pulled out all the stops to deflect Turkish aggression. Foot wrote to Kucuk promising—in significant new language—the Muslim community ‘a specially favoured and specially protected state’, and that the Turkish Government’s ‘Representative’ would have powers across the whole range of public administration. [Source: Foot to Kucuk, 6 June 1958, 181/12, Box 5.] But both Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot opinion were convinced that Her Majesty’s Government was about to renege on the partition pledge of 19 December 1956, and were bent on acting accordingly. On 6 June Rauf Denktash returned to Nicosia from Turkey, and made a highly incendiary speech at Larnaca. (Holland 1998, p. 251.)

7 June 1958
Premeditated Explosion

Cyprus had in recent years been the scene of a good deal of tragedy and suffering, but it had not fallen into the pit of outright war, civil or otherwise. This was a horror many Cypriots were about to look in the face. (Holland 1998, p. 251.)

It was not much of a bomb: the container was a half-pound cocoa tin. Burst open at the ends, it lay on a blackened patch of concrete under the veranda where it exploded after bouncing off the wall, and Nicosia Security men who were interviewing a sleepy caretaker wearing the bottom half of a pair of orange pyjamas had no reason to think any more of it: no reason, except for the brass plate next to the door which read ‘Turkish Republic Information Office’.

In Istanbul all was ready for the biggest Cyprus demonstration yet in favour of partition. Thousands of TAXIM slogans had already been painted; the great square outside the university was cleared for the hundreds of thousands who would hear Kutchuk and Nedjati Sager, the ‘Cyprus is Turkish’ party chief from London.

Bang went the little bomb in Nicosia — and now the Turks in Istanbul would have the signal they were waiting for. For out of the side-streets at 11 p.m., when the town is usually asleep, poured the Turkish youth of Nicosia to play their appointed role. Soon fire calls were coming in from all sides, while Turks smashed windows and looted shops. Church bells clanged the alarm. Refugees were bundling things into push-carts and wheelbarrows. The rioters attacked with stones and clubs; two Greeks were killed and casualties poured into the clinics.

After three hours troops intervened for the first time, while Dr Dervis screamed over the telephone: ‘Where is your hero Foot? Either he is mad or he is worse than Harding!’ I told him to tell the Governor, which he did, accusing the authorities of criminal complicity with the Turks, who had let off a bomb outside their own building and were now on the rampage. Sir Hugh told him that strong measures were being taken and this was no time for recrimination. ‘Worse than Harding!’ the mayor bawled. [....]

When I reached London the ‘late night finals’ told me that the Istanbul demonstrators had burned Makarios in effigy, while Kutchuk declared that Britain seemed incapable of protecting Turkish lives. Other speakers whose words would be blaring from every Turkish loudspeaker in Cyprus said that twenty million mainland Turks were ready to die for their compatriots in the island. The Reform Club ticker said two more Greeks had been stabbed to death — and fifty Greeks arrested ‘for causing trouble’. [....]

During the luncheon break I sent for the evening papers. The Turks had looted the Nicosia municipal market. British consulates in Turkey were under guard. Greece was defying Turkish threats of war. in Nicosia ten thousand troops were now on riot duties, but a few hundred Turks had attacked Divisional Police H.Q. without an arrest being made. [....]

I also had a quiet half-hour with Lennox-Boyd. [....] As for this new outbreak in Cyprus, Security had things well in hand, or would have soon. What made me think Turkey had organized it? One mustn’t listen to wild stories. Moreover, the Greeks had a long run for their money, and you couldn’t come down too hard on people who had always been so loyal and stable. I said that the day before one of our English reporters had been violently assaulted by Turks, while taking pictures with armed troops standing by. He had been finished off with a brick. No one had been arrested. I felt that such an example of stability and loyalty could be improved on. (Foley 1964, pp.119-121.)

The incident which began the trouble is shrouded in mystery. About 10.30 p.m. a small bomb was thrown from a passing car at the Turkish Information Office (which is part of the Consulate) in Kyrenia Road. Whether the bomb was actually thrown by a Greek, as the Turks allege, is a matter of raging controversy and the authorities have so far committed themselves to no pronouncement. Certainly what immediately followed bore all the signs of a planned and concerted action by gangs of Turkish youths—reminiscent of the tactics adopted in similar circumstances last January. Immediately hordes of Turkish youths began to gather, as if from nowhere, armed with sticks, cudgels, and other improvised weapons. Shouting anti-Greek slogans, they began to attack police cars and started a fire in a cigarette factory near by.

Tension rose when the church bells—in Cyprus now a call to war rather than to worship—began to toll out their warning in the Greek quarter and scores of anxious Greeks, some in pyjamas, poured out of their homes, ready to defend their “liberties.” The Turkish mob then headed for the area near Famagusta Gate, which has a mixed Greek-Turkish population, smashing cars, breaking shop windows, and setting a van and some Greek shops alight. The streets in this area seemed deserted of troops and police and within minutes the alleys around the Greek Olympiakos Sports Club became a holocaust of arson and violence as the Turks, armed with iron bars and clubs, moved into action. The Mitsides timber yard was set alight and within minutes became a blazing inferno. The Olympiakos club was gutted.

... a battle developed in the side streets near Famagusta Gate... In this clash most of the casualties occurred—the victims being promiscuously shot, knifed, or clubbed.

The security forces, who up to this time had been employed sparingly, were now sent to the scene in greater strength and a curfew was rigorously imposed. The fire brigades continued to fight half a dozen fires simultaneously with commendable success—although there has been criticism in the local Press that they were not on the scene quickly enough or in sufficient strength.

Indeed, the whole handling of the situation by the security forces has been the subject of critical comment both in the Greek and English local Press...

The English-language Cyprus Mail to-day comments editorially that the blunt reality the Government must immediately face is that “unless they are prepared to deal with the Turkish violence in the same way as they deal with Greek violence, they will lose all respect in the eyes of the world...

... Early to-day a car driven by a Greek Cypriot was attacked at the village of Mizeli by an angry mob of Turks, who set it ablaze. The driver and one passenger escaped, but another passenger was beaten.... (“Sudden Spread of Cyprus Rioting,” The Times, 9 June 1958, p. 10.)

The Testimony of Clive Evatt, Q.C.

On Friday, June 6, 1958, Raouf Denktash (described as the No. 2 Turkish-Cypriot) returned to Cyprus after a fortnight in Turkey. Denktash enjoys remarkable immunity including—one gathers—freedom from arrest. On his arrival he addressed a public gathering in Nicosia without the slightest interference from the forces or from the Turkish police. Some of his remarks as reported in the Cyprus Mail of June 7, 1958, are indeed interesting:

We shall not accept self-government for Cyprus or any form of constitution. We want partition. Thousands of Turkish youths are ready to rush to our aid if necessary. The Turkish nation and the Cypriot Turks are determined for partition. We may have to undergo some difficult days but be sure that our goal will be achieved at the end.

Mr. Denktash said he was convinced from his talks that partition was a just cause which could not be abandoned by the Turkish Government or Turks in Cyprus, he told his cheering audience:

Everybody in Turkey strongly believes that either today or tomorrow or some day in the future. ‘taksim’ will be granted unconditionally.

Any Greek-Cypriot who ventured to address a public meeting or speak in such terms would be unceremoniously thrown into the concentration camp at Kokkinotrimithia to join the other Greek-Cypriot political prisoners held there without trial. But not so with Denktash, who after his inflammatory speech was cordially received at the British Secretariat by the Administrative Secretary.

Events soon took a startling turn. The following night from 10 o’clock till after midnight a section of Nicosia was attacked by a Turkish mob. Greek-Cypriot buildings were burnt and their occupants were brutally attacked—some fatally. The Turkish police and the British authorities allowed these outrages to continue without interruption for over two hours. The sky was aglow and church bells rang out their grim warning before any real attempt was made to stop these atrocities against innocent Greek-Cypriots. When the latter attempted to retaliate the authorities took action; not, however, against those responsible for the initial lawlessness but against innocent Greek-Cypriots who were endeavouring to defend their families and their homes.

Outraged by these occurrences the Mayor of Nicosia, Dr. Dervis, telephoned Governor Foot and complained that the security forces had arrived too late. The Mayor said:

Slackness by police in taking action gave the Turks time to complete their orgy. The criminal acts of 1955 in Istanbul have now been repeated in Nicosia. What measures did the government take after Mr. Denktash’s ‘rabble-rousing’ speeches to the Turks? The atrocities committed tonight are the result of Denktash’s speech. If I were to make that kind of speech I’d have been put in prison or sent into exile. Why has the Government permitted this gentleman to provoke the crowds. The Greek people believe that the Government were the Turks’ accomplices in their atrocities—otherwise it would have taken immediate and stronger measures to protect the public. The police and the army always arrive too late and show unwillingness and apathy to act when the Turks are committing murders and firing Greek property. I want to know why the Turks are armed and why the authorities fail to search Turkish houses as they search Greek houses. The people have no more confidence in the Government in view of its scandalous partiality to the Turks.

Evidence is mounting daily of a Tory-Turkish conspiracy to stage a reign of terror on the island, the aggressors consisting of gangs of Turkish criminals. The Turkish police close their eyes to their atrocities. Day after day Greek-Cypriots are being slaughtered. Governor Foot’s refrain ‘I shall restore order’ has a hollow ring to those who know the truth. The fact is there is no order: and order on the island would baulk the Macmillan Government’s plans. It would bring nearer the realisation of self-determination. And that is exactly what the Tories want to prevent. (“Cyprus: Tory Colonialism Exposed”, by Clive Evatt, Q.C., Labour Monthly, Australia, August 1958, pp. 347 ff.)

Note: Clive Evatt was the brother of Herbert Vere Evatt, who was the Leader of the Australian Labor Party and of the Opposition in the 1950s.

“Later on a friend of mine whose name must still be kept secret was to confess to me that he had put this little bomb in their doorway in order to create an atmosphere of tension...” (Rauf Denktash on the ITV programme Cyprus, Britain’s Grim Legacy [Granada, 1984].)

Note: Denktash was less forthcoming in another interview: “There was an explosion at the Information Bureau of the Turkish Consulate. A crowd had already gathered there, a crowd of Turkish Cypriot youths, and they all almost immediately decided that Greeks had done it and they were swearing vengeance against the Greeks and so on.” (Rauf Denktash in End of Empire, no. 10: Cyprus, Granada, 1985.)

Kutlu Adalı’s response to Denktash’s revelation that the bomb was thrown by a “close collaborator of Denktash”

On watching the documentary I felt ashamed to hear President Denktash himself speak of the secret hands and the reason they threw a bomb at the Turkish Press Office on January 8, 1958, [sic] exactly 26 years ago. I also felt ashamed upon learning that they had been distorting history for so many years. ... the bomb attack was the work of a close collaborator of Denktash. And it is now clear that the aim was an escalation of the Turkish Cypriots’ political fanaticism. The reason why I, as someone who lived through those days, now feel shame over these revelations is because, after that particular bomb attack, many innocent Turkish and Greek Cypriots lost their lives, many were injured and remained disabled and, for the first time, Turkish and Greek Cypriots were separated by barbed wire, resulting in a state of ‘no solution’ which continues to this day.

History professor Dr Fahir Armaoglu, who visited Cyprus recently and met Denktash, wrote in his book The Cyprus Problem that the bomb attack had been the work of EOKA terrorists. The disproving of a historian’s view by Denktash is another reason for my feeling of shame. We cannot know whether Denktash told Armaoglu the truth but we can read with deep concern and shame about the bloody incidents caused by the bomb blast on page 452 of Armaoglu’s book.....

... Armaoglu’s book was published in 1963. Twenty years later, Denktash revealed on TV that the bomb attack that caused so many incidents was the work of Turks. If we ... say that the real attackers were the Turks, is this treason? Since we were the ones who planted the bomb, was it not we who attacked the Greek Cypriots, who set fire to houses and caused deaths? If such revelations were to come from leftists, they would be accused of harbouring pro-Greek feelings and being traitors. Perhaps an order would be given to the TMT Fighters Association to issue statements dripping with blood.....

Older readers will recall that on September 7, 1955, someone threw a bomb at the house in which Ataturk was born in Thessaloniki. Because of this, tens of thousands of Greek homes and shops in Istanbul were damaged or destroyed and many Greeks were killed. At the time it was claimed that the bomb was the work of Greek Cypriots, but when Menderes and his cronies were tried, following the May 27th revolution, it was revealed and written in the trial minutes that the bomb thrown at Ataturk’s house was thrown by Turks.

There have been many such incidents. And now the history books reveal them as events of which we should be proud. We read them with shame... (Kutlu Adalı, quoted in Costas Yennaris, From the East: Conflict and Partition in Cyprus [Elliot & Thomson, 2003], pp. 134-136.)

Note: As the bomb incident shows, the tactic of fomenting trouble by engaging in acts of sabotage or terrorism that can be ascribed to the opposing side was used by the TMT in Cyprus. One wonders to what extent, and how many other deeds have been mistakenly attributed to the Greek Cypriots. On this see the report of statements by General Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu: “Retired Turkish Gen. Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu said Turkish authorities burned a mosque on Cyprus to increase civil resistance against Greeks... He did not say when the mosque-burning occurred... Yirmibeşoğlu... said it was a rule of war to engage in acts of sabotage made to look as if they were carried out by the enemy.” (“Turkey Burned Mosque During Cyprus Conflict, General Says,” Hürriyet Daily News, 24 Sept. 2010.)

8 June 1958

That Anglo-Turkish relations inside Cyprus amidst all these depredations were very different from a ‘conspiracy’ may be deduced from the fractious meeting on 8 June in Government House between Governor Foot and a Turkish-Cypriot delegation led by Denktash (Kucuk was absent in Ankara, getting more instructions from his bosses). Foot complained bitterly about the serious situation overnight, and the ‘deplorable impression’ afforded by Turkish imperviousness to repeated Government pleas for calm. [Source: Note of meeting at Government House, 8 June 1958, CO926/643.] Denktash treated Foot with the same kind of disdain he had earlier met with in Ankara, attributing the trouble to ‘teddy boys’, and defending it as having arisen from a feeling that ‘they [the Turks] were being tricked at each step by the British Government’. Foot brushed aside what he saw as pure mendacity. Stating that it was the duty of all communal leaders to abjure violence, he requested Denktash to make a public appeal calling off his rowdy supporters. He even had the document written out ready for Denktash’s signature. The Turkish-Cypriots withdrew to inspect the piece of paper, but soon returned and handed it back unsigned. ‘Last night the whole of Nicosia could easily have gone up in flames’, Foot upbraided them as they left. He got no more satisfaction when he met afterwards with the Turkish Consul-General. [Source: Record of meeting between the Governor and Turkish Consul-General, 8 June 1958, ibid.] The violence of 7/8 June was Turkish-inspired and executed pur et simple, though to Greeks having their houses fire-bombed fine distinctions in responsibility mattered little. (Holland 1998, pp. 252-253.)

Editorial Comment: It should be noted that Governor Foot was to a large extent isolated from his security chiefs (as Holland indicates elsewhere: pp. 201, 220-1, 232, 256), who had little sympathy with the views and attitudes of their “liberal” Governor.

9 June 1958

To-day’s biggest Turkish demonstration took place in Lefka. A crowd paraded through the streets, a police car was attacked, and several Greek-owned shops were set on fire. Reinforcements of troops were sent to the town.

To-night the Greek mayors of the leading towns issued a statement after a two hour talk with the Governor. They gave a firm warning, they said, that unless the authorities took adequate measures the Greeks “will organize their own self-defence.” A group of Turkish leaders also saw the Governor—and said that they required protection against the Greeks. (“Firmer Security Measures Ordered In Cyprus,” The Times, June 10, 1958, Page 10.)

10 June 1958

Cyprus had another day of widespread incidents...

The alarm and tension caused among the people of Cyprus by the spread of rumour is becoming a serious menace...

... The worst incident reported was a marauding expedition by Turks, who looted Greek shops in the municipal market area during the hour when the curfew was lifted to enable the public to obtain provisions. The same tactics were repeated during the afternoon interval...

In several villages and in the suburbs of Nicosia minor inter-communal clashes occurred, and several arrests were reported. A Greek Cypriot business man was ambushed by a gang of Turks near a village outside Nicosia. He escaped with his life, but left a brand new car at the gang’s mercy, and they soon made debris of it... It was reported to-night that explosives found at Larnaca earlier in the day were in the cellar of a local mosque. The security forces had to use batons and tear gas on a mob of Turkish youths who refused to, obey the curfew order and go indoors. In Famagusta a Greek store belonging to the firm of N. P. Lanitis was set on fire, but the damage was not serious... (“Day of Alarms in Cyprus,” The Times, June 11, 1958, Page 8.)

12 June 1958
The Guenyeli “Incident”

As the disorders continued, Greek villagers had organized their own haphazard defence. On the afternoon of 12 June a small Police detachment led by a British Sergeant arrested thirty-two Greek men on the outskirts of Skylloura, a few miles from the capital. The men were ‘armed’, it was said afterwards, with sticks and stones, crouching in a river-bed and allegedly posing a threat to their Turkish neighbours (though the line between defence and offence under prevailing conditions was one open to all kinds of interpretation). The Security Forces unit was taking the arrested men to Nicosia Police Station, and had almost arrived, when news came through of a disturbance elsewhere. The delicate position of the Army personnel subsequently derived from the fact that, instead of releasing the men immediately, they drove them several miles further on, to the Turkish village of Guenyeli, and then told the men to walk home (according to one of the Greeks, they were dumped fifty yards past Guenyeli, and told, ‘You wanted to bully the Turks? Here they are. You can walk home from here’. [Source: Times of Cyprus, 14 June 1958.]) Whatever was actually said, the unfortunate group had barely set out when they were set upon by Turkish vigilantes, four being hacked to death in the most horrific manner, and four dying from their wounds shortly afterwards; others were very severely injured. The resulting gruesome photographs were much used in Greek-Cypriot publicity. Amongst Greeks it was more or less universally believed that the British soldiers had quite deliberately abandoned the victims at a spot where they were liable to be attacked. The position of the Cyprus Government was not eased when the statements which had been rushed out to explain why the men had been arrested in the first place were shown to be inaccurate. Governor Foot wasted no time setting up a full enquiry... (Holland 1998, p. 255.)

At least three Greek Cypriots were killed to-night and many injured in the worst inter-communal clash since the present trouble began. The clash occurred at Geunyeli, north of Nicosia, when a crowd of Greeks were reported to have been attacked first by a Turkish motor cyclist and then by a Turkish mob. [...]

In the Turkish quarter of Nicosia, Turkish women rioted again this morning, demanding the release of their husbands and sons arrested yesterday. Barbed-wire barriers were slung across the approaches to the police station at Kyrenia Gate, and troops with automatic weapons stopped all cars. In Atatürk Square, a group of Turks could be seen excitedly listening to radio propaganda from Ankara, which they cheered vociferously. Late this afternoon, in spite of a curfew, more rioting broke out in the Turkish quarter and a full curfew was imposed.

Fires have been started at several places, though arson was not on the scale of yesterday’s orgies. The Greek Church of St. Lucas, which was almost gutted yesterday, was again attacked by Turkish vandals who fired it to-day in an attempt to complete the destruction.

In Famagusta, street fighting broke out between the Greeks and Turks in the afternoon, and according to first reports 17 people were injured. The trouble flared up when a crowd of Greeks in the mixed Greek-Turkish area on the north-west side of Famagusta Old Town evacuated their homes, feverishly scraping together their belongings. They set off on a trek for the Greek quarter, only to meet head on with a Turkish gang. The church bells were rung and Greeks poured out armed with sticks, bars, and other weapons to protect their compatriots. [....]

Meanwhile, the Turks are doggedly pursuing their plan for separate municipalities. They insist that this is more essentially a spontaneous local development and unrelated to the larger political issues. But to many people it has the appearance of an attempt to apply partition willy-nilly.... (“Clash North of Nicosia, Three Greeks Dead, Many Injured,” The Times, 13 June 1957.)

Seven Greek Cypriots are dead as a result of a savage clash with Turks last night near the village of Geunyeli, north of Nicosia. The death-roll since the present wave of communal strife began last Saturday is 13, of whom 11 were Greeks and two Turks. This proportion significantly reflects the pugnacity of either side.

... Calling the events at Geunyeli a clash is probably a severe under-statement; the evidence of the wounded who poured into Nicosia hospital indicates that there had been a savage battle. The Greek Press describes it as a massacre, because the Greeks were unarmed... (“Seven Cypriots Dead In Village Battle,” The Times, 14 June 1958, p. 6.)

The Cyprus Government to-day issued the full report of the inquiry conducted by the Chief Justice, Sir Paget Bourke, into the Geunyeli incident of June 12...

In August several Turks charged with murder as a result of the incident were acquitted on the ground that there was insufficient evidence.

... In the words of the Chief Justice the attack “was of the most savage nature and the injuries inflicted indicate an extraordinary blood-lust.” [....]

... The report states: “There was no intention to make these people, so to speak run the gauntlet or deliberately expose them to risk or danger in making their way back [to Kondemenos].” [....]

... “A blunder, suggesting some confusion, had occurred: to what, if any extent, it was due to lack of proper liaison between the police and the military I cannot say.” [....]

“I have been invited by Colonel Hamilton, representing the military, to find not only that everyone acted in good faith, which I have had no difficulty in doing, but also that the order given and the action taken upon it were reasonable. I am unable to do so. There is no question of being wise after the event. I do not say for a moment that anything like what did occur was reasonably to be anticipated. I do not propose to speculate upon the possibility.

“The fact is that a party of Greeks, arrested as intending attackers upon Turks, was put down and compelled, at a time of great tenseness of inter-communal feeling, to walk across Turkish property, away from a Turkish village, but in the general direction of a Turkish hamlet, and out of sight of the security forces remaining on the Kyrenia road...” [....]

... There was every indication that it was not a haphazard affair but was arranged in anticipation of these Greeks passing along the area where the killers were concealed. (“Cyprus ‘Massacre’ Inquiry Clears Security Forces,” The Times, 10 December 1958, p. 8.)

13 June 1958

“Greek shop owners whose shops are to be found in the Turkish neighbourhood [of Limassol] received letters signed ‘Volkan’ in which they were given notice that if they do not abandon the Turkish district within 15 days their lives will be in danger.” (Ελευθερία 13 June 1958 [Eleftheria, newspaper. Translation: Π.Α.] Available at http://ccha-ahdr.info/items/show/301.)

15 June 1958

ANKARA, June 15.—Mr. Zorlu, the Turkish Foreign Minister, to-day handed the British Ambassador a Note rejecting the British plan for the settlement of the Cyprus dispute. The Note reiterated that Turkey would accept only the partition of Cyprus and held Britain responsible for the current situation there.

British journals are under heavy fire in the Turkish Press. Zafer, the mouthpiece of the ruling Democratic Party, yesterday bitterly attacked the Economist for trying to prove that Turkey’s stand on Cyprus was undermined by her “rotten” internal economic situation and for suggesting that she was trying to blackmail the west by making economic overtures to the Soviet Union.

The article is dismissed as “discarded gossip” worthy of a “common provincial newspaper.”

To-day Zafer attacks Mr. Randolph Churchill’s recent article in the Evening Standard as being “full of insults for Turkey from beginning to end,” and denounces Mr. Churchill as a “madman” who is trying to ape his famous father’s exploits in the Boer War or those of the “super-romantic” Byron in Greece. The only thing that Turkey can do to those ill-bred enough to write like this about her, Zafer concludes, is “to show them the door.” (“Ankara Rejects British Plan For Cyprus,” The Times, June 16, 1958, Page 8.)

Mr. Esin, the Turkish delegate to the United Nations, has handed Mr. Hammarskjöld, the Secretary-General, a letter conveying the Turkish view that the co-existence of the Turkish and Greek communities in Cyprus under the same rule has become impossible. [...]

It enumerates attacks on Turks made by Greek Cypriots last week, and states that Eoka has long tried “to intimidate and terrorize the Turks in order to induce them to flee from their homes,” thus facilitating the goal of annexation of Cyprus to Greece.

“The equally cruel psychological pressures exerted by the Greek terrorists against the Turkish Cypriots are best illustrated,” it says, “by the rumours systematically spread from time to time to the effect that the Turkish population are to be annihilated by a general attack at a given date.” (“Self-Determination In Cyprus a Turkish Right Too,” The Times, June 16, 1958, Page 8.)

Editorial Comment: To accuse opponents of what they themselves are guilty of is an often used Turkish disinformation strategy. It was noted by J. V. Prendergast, Chief of Intelligence in Cyprus, in 1959: “it can be seen that Mr. Denktash has adopted the method of accusing his enemy of the very acts of which his own community is responsible...” (Prendergast, 26 June 1959 in a secret report to Governor Sir Hugh Foot [Colonial Office Document CO 296/1000, quoted in Argyrou 2009, p. 246.]) One also notes here the reference to systematically spread rumour, and the fact that the same kind of rumour was used to inflame Turkish public opinion in preparation for the Istanbul pogrom of September 1955. Since there is no evidence that EOKA was using rumour as a weapon, this raises the suspicion that the TMT was using rumours to inflame the Turkish Cypriots and raise their nationalist fervour to the required pitch.

16 June 1958

In Britain, The Times ran an editorial warning against rejection of the as yet unrevealed British plan.

Editorial Comment: According to the Times editorial of 16 June, rejection of the British plan—as yet not revealed to Parliament—would “at best... lead almost inevitably to an internationalization of the crisis. If that happens, decisions arrived at through ignorance and ulterior motives may be foisted on Greek and Turk alike which will prove far less palatable than Britain's informed and sincere suggestions.” No irony was intended. (“Last Chance,” The Times, 16 June 1958, p. 9.)

17 June 1958
House of Commons Debate

Mr. F. Noel-Baker asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps the Government of Cyprus will take to prevent the incitement to murder and civil war of the Turkish Cypriot population by means of radio broadcasts and newspapers from Turkey.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd: Her Majesty's Government have made the strongest representations to the Turkish Government about the tone and content of recent broadcasts and newspaper articles. The Cyprus Press censor has on one occasion prevented the circulation of Turkish newspapers and will do so again whenever necessary....

Mr. F. Noel-Baker asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what proceedings the Government of Cyprus now proposes to take against Dr. Fazil Kuchuk and Mr. Raouf Denktash, in view of their repeated violations of the emergency regulations.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd: No proceedings have been taken against Dr. Kuchuk and Mr. Denktash. At the present time I would prefer to say no more than that. (House of Commons Debate 17 June 1958 vol 589 cc866-7)

19 June 1958
The Macmillan Plan

The British Government’s long awaited new plan for Cyprus was announced in Parliament, two days late, by the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

29 June 1958

Kristis Vevis, a well known footballer playing for the team Apollo, received a letter containing a death threat, and fled abroad. Vevis was a Muslim who had become a Christian four years before. (“Ηπειλήθη και ανεχώρησε” [“He Was Threatened and He Left”], Ελευθερία, 1 July 1958.)

30 June 1958

Ahmet Ibrahim, a barber from Limassol, was assassinated because he had friendly relations with Greek-Cypriots and publicly supported coexistence. (Costas Yennaris, From The East: Conflict And Partition In Cyprus, 2003, p. 127.)

3 July 1958

Arif Hulusi Barudi, a trade union leader who worked in a business owned by a Greek Cypriot, was the victim of a failed assasination attempt, after having received a threatening letter demanding that he leave his job. (Turkey’s Expansionist Designs on Cyprus: The Role of TMT (Cyprus Public Information Office, 1979), p. 9.)

1 August 1958

Colonel Rıza Vuruşkan, a veteran of the Korean War, arrived in Cyprus under the assumed name of Ali Conan and in the guise of an auditor for the Labour Bank. With him came another five officers. His task was to take over command of the TMT. Vuruşkan’s immediate superior in Turkey was Ismail Tansu, who worked for the STK (Tactical Mobilization Committee [Seferberlik Taktik Kurulu]), which was founded in 1952 with the blessing of the National Defense Supreme Council, and was “the first institutional extension of the Turkish branch of the European stay-behind operations”. (See “Turkey’s ‘Deep-State’ and the Ergenekon Conundrum” by H. Akin Ünver.) It was led by Brigadier General Daniş Karabelen, who had been one of sixteen Turkish soldiers (including Alparslan Türkeş) trained in special warfare in the United States.

Following instructions from Menderes, Karabelen asked his right-hand man Ismail Tansu to prepare a “Plan for Recapturing Cyprus” (Kıbrıs İstirdat Planı). The plan Tansu came up with involved the creation of a “special warfare” organisation which would utilise the Turkish Cypriot population of Cyprus, but be led by Turkish army officers. (In Reality No One Was Asleep: A Secret Underground Organization, with State Support? TMT by Ismail Tansu, translated by Ayhan Sutcuoglu [Afghanistan, n.d.]. Turkish Edition: Aslnda hic kimse uyumuyordu: TMT, Ankara 2001.)

Before leaving for Cyprus, Vuruşkan attended a meeting with Fatin Zorlu on 22 July. Also present were General Daniş Karabelen, Colonel Eyüp Master, Major Ismail Tansu, and Captains Rahmi Ergün, Mehmet Özden. Towards the end of the meeting Vuruskan asked Fatin Zorlu the following:
“Sir, we see our posting as a secret mission which looks to guerilla warfare for the protection of the Turkish community, but also for the armed support of government positions. From what you have said we have realised that our ultimate goal is, if the necessity presents itself and circumstances permit, for a general uprising to occur and for us to take control of the whole of Cyprus. Have I understood you correctly? Is that our ultimate goal? Should we perhaps prepare for that goal?
The minister grudgingly replied to me: “Certainly that is the goal.” (Athanasiades 1998, p. 87. Translation: Π.Α.)

18 November 1958
Memorandum of a Conversation in Washington

In response to the Secretary’s inquiry, Foreign Minister Zorlu said that the Turkish Government had not decided whether to submit a resolution to the [UN General] Assembly. He described the UK plan as a kind of truce between the parties and affirmed that it has Turkish approbation. While the Turks believe that the Macmillan plan can be improved in certain ways, nevertheless they had given their support since it was a truce which would not prejudice an ultimate solution. It placed the Cyprus question in “refrigeration”, leaving open the ultimate solution...

Foreign Minister Zorlu then explained the Turkish concept of partition. He said that without dividing the stand [land?] they sought a “kind of an intellectual partition”; namely that the two communities must be given the idea that neither was being governed by the other. He believed the three governments principally concerned should cooperate to this end. He did not believe it was desirable to “mix the United Nations” in this matter... (Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Volume X, Part 1, Eastern Europe Region, Soviet Union, Cyprus, Document 291: Memorandum of Conversation.)

4 December 1958
Averoff and Zorlu at the U.N.

Averoff: “We went with some members of the delegation at the end of the corridor to smoke. We were frantic at first because there were questions of internal policy. How do you go back in the country beaten? Then I saw Zorlu coming towards me. I told my people ‘There he is coming here. I’m afraid I’ll slap him in the face, I’m so nervous [agitated]. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep my nerves [control myself].’ He came smiling and he told me ‘I come to congratulate you...’”

Narrator: “To Averoff’s amazement, Zorlu proposed a deal. Turkey would accept independence for Cyprus if they could agree guarantees to protect the Turkish minority.” (End of Empire, no. 10: Cyprus, Granada, 1985.)

Editorial Note: Greece had just been defeated at the meetings of the First Committee of the U.N. General Assembly (24 Nov.-4 Dec.), where the Cyprus question had been discussed at Greece’s request. A total of seven resolutions had been put forward by various states.

Desiring for itself the role of arbiter and referee, the UK had submitted a resolution that the General Assembly recognize the UK’s efforts to find a solution acceptable to all concerned parties through international negotiations, and invite the UK to continue these efforts, and the other parties to co-operate.

Greece countered by trying to oust Britain from her preferred role with a resolution that the General Assembly invite the Government of the UK “to assist Cypriots in instituting a status of independence” and that the UN set up “a committee of good offices to work and co-operate with all concerned to implement the resolution and report to the General Assembly.”

On the other hand, in her draft resolution, Turkey wanted no more than a friendly solution and the application of the principles of self-determination and equal rights (i.e., equal rights between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities).

The resolution which made it through to the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly was a proposal by Iran urging that a conference of the three Governments and representatives of the Cypriots be convened to discuss both interim arrangements and a final solution, since this offered the best hope of peaceful progress towards an agreed solution. After Greece had proposed amendments and Turkey sub-amendments, the resolution was approved by the Political Committee on 4 December (31 votes to 22, with 28 abstentions).

However after the 4th of December meeting, Zorlu approached Averoff and indicated a desire to negotiate directly with the Greek Foreign Minister with the aim of reaching an agreement on an independent Cyprus and thus ruling out both enosis and partition. That evening they agreed on a compromise resolution, which was put to the General Assembly on the following day and approved unanimously without debate, although the Soviet Union did feel obliged to point out that “the General Assembly has been constrained to return to its decision of February 1957, instead of taking a step forward and ensuring a settlement of the question of Cyprus in accordance with the interests of the people of the island and with their aspiration towards free and independent development.” (See Article 33, Repertory, Suppl. 2, vol. II [1955-1959], and Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Volume X, Part 1, Eastern Europe Region, Soviet Union, Cyprus, Documents 293 & 296. For a full account see the UN Yearbook 1958.)

5 December 1958
The U.N. General Assembly Resolution

Resolution UNGA December 1958

19 December 1958
Telegram From the U.S. Embassy in France to the State Department

Averoff said that in discussions with Turks (presumably between himself and Zorlu) attempt being made to arrive at mutually acceptable formula for an independent Cyprus. Talks only in initial stage but involve practical questions as to share of Turkish community in future government of island. In certain spheres Turks were asking “too high a price”, i.e., a fifty-fifty arrangement. In Averoff's opinion, Turks motivated in their current show of friendship by three factors: (1) widespread sentiment expressed in UNGA for independence as best solution, (2) genuine concern over ME [Middle East] developments, and (3) desire to reach relatively favorable settlement before possible advent Labor government in UK. He concluded by stating he was not sure UK entirely happy over Greek-Turkish get together, but that he hoped US would use its influence in London and Ankara to encourage continuance of this bilateral effort. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Volume X, Part 1, Eastern Europe Region, Soviet Union, Cyprus, Document 297: Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State.

1959: Ominous Signs

17-19 February 1959
The London Conference

On 19 February, Archbishop Makarios accepted, after expressing misgivings, the independence package negotiated between Zorlu and Averoff and agreed to by Britain.

6 April 1959

The first full session of the Cyprus Transitional Cabinet took place. “British, Greek, and Turkish representatives... told the first full session of the Cyprus transitional Cabinet that the island's communities must cooperate and show understanding if the new partnership is to succeed.” (“Cyprus Pleas for Cooperation”, The Times, April 7, 1959, p. 8.)

On the same day a delegation from Ankara arrived in Cyprus to represent Turkey on the Cyprus Constitutional Commission. The delegation consisted of Nihat Erim and two representatives of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Nihat Erim had prepared two classified reports on Cyprus in 1956 in which he argued that Turkey’s minimum policy goal should be partition, and that the Greek Cypriot majority on the island could be overturned. (See the entry above for 24 November 1956.)

“The Joint Constitutional Commission was the body established by the London and Zurich Agreements to draw up a draft constitution for the Republic of Cyprus incorporating the basic structure agreed at Zurich. It was composed of one representative each of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot community and a representative each for the Governments of Greece and Turkey together with a legal adviser nominated by the Greek Foreign Minister and a legal advisor nominated by the Turkish Foreign Minister.” (Diana Markides, “The Issue of Separate Municipalities in Cyprus 1957–1963: An Overview”, Journal of Mediterranean Studies 1998, 8 [2]: 177–204.)

26 June 1959

“[…] there has been no fundamental change in Mr. Denktash’s policy since his trip to Turkey. There is no evidence that he received there any directive to alter his long term stratagem of preparing the Turkish Cypriot community to face a situation of extreme pressure once the Cyprus Republic has come into being […] Instead of making speeches and writing and inspiring press articles of outright belligerence he is now paying lip-service to the doctrine of peaceful coexistence and urging his community to remain united and friendly, and patient in the face of provocation without yielding an inch of ground. Between the lines of his speeches and press writings however, it can be seen that Mr. Denktash has adopted the method of accusing his enemy of the very acts of which his own community is responsible, to wit, arms smuggling, weapon training, economic throat-cutting, manoeuvring behind a smoke screen of top-level benevolence and cooperation […] and tacitly ordering the community to accept the Zurich and London Agreements as a means of reaching the original goal […].” J. V. Prendergast, Chief of Intelligence in Cyprus, 26 June 1959 in a top secret report to Governor Sir Hugh Foot (Colonial Office Document CO 296/1000, quoted in Argyrou 2009, p. 246.)

18 October 1959
The Deniz Incident

A Turkish motor vessel [the Deniz] was scuttled off the north-east coast of Cyprus to-day as she was being searched by a Royal Navy boarding party, an official statement said to-night. Before the vessel sank, two cases of ammunition were seized by the boarding party. Three members of the crew [all Turkish citizens] were arrested and are being held for questioning.... The incident occurred ... when the minesweeper Burmaston was on a routine patrol off the coast. The crew saw a motor vessel close to Cape Plakoti, near Yialousa. The vessel was stopped, but as a search party went on board the crew began to scuttle their ship. (“Arms Vessel Scuttled by Crew”, The Times, 19 October 1959, p. 10.)

27 October 1959

The case of the Turkish motor ship Deniz, which has been the cause of a suspension of the constitutional negotiations in Cyprus for the past week, reached the Cyprus supreme Court to-day when three Turks were charged with attempting to import 75 boxes each containing 1,250 rounds of .303 ammunition and of being in possession of the ammunition. (“Deniz Men In Court”, The Times, Wed. 28 October 1959, p. 9.)

11 November, 1959

The Crown unexpectedly withdrew two charges against the captain and crew of the Turkish motor ship Deniz when they appeared in court at Famagusta to-day in connexion with the interception of their vessel off north-east Cyprus on the night of October 18. Pleading ... Guilty to the remaining charge of possessing two boxes of ammunition, the three men... were sentenced to one year’s imprisonment each, to run from the date of arrest. The Governor, Sir Hugh Foot, to-night announced that ... he had decided that the three men should be deported from Cyprus as soon as possible and declared prohibited immigrants. (“Turkish Arms Crew Sentenced”, The Times, 12 November 1959, p. 10.)

1960: “Not Really a Form of Independence” (Zorlu)

16 August 1960

Cyprus became an independent republic today. The Union Jack was lowered at Government House in Nicosia just before midnight, and 82 years of British administration came quietly to an end... (“Midnight Proclamation of Cyprus Republic,” The Times, 16 August 1960, p. 6.)

In a recent interview, Ismail Tansu, who had prepared the “Plan for Recapturing Cyprus” (Kıbrıs İstirdat Planı), remembered how in 1960, he went to the then Turkish Prime Minister Menderes and asked him whether the TMT should now be abolished. According to Tansu, Menderes replied that it should not be abolished for there was still work to do, as the policy of partition had not been abandoned. (“Emekli Albay'dan Şok Açıklamalar!” [Retired Colonel’s Remarks Shock!] by Mete Tümerkan, HaberKibris.com, 21 January 2013.)

Statement by Melih Ezenbel of the Turkish Foreign Ministry in the Turkish newspaper Tercüman, 21 July 1984. Quoted in Costas Yennaris’ book From the East: Conflict and Partition in Cyprus, pp. 110-111.

“The Zurich and London agreements created a new situation in Cyprus. The most important aspect of this new situation was the ‘right of intervention’. To think of the Zurich and London agreements and believe that there would not be an intervention one day would have made the agreement worthless. In concluding the Zurich and London agreements, we knew that one day the opportunity to intervene would present itself. Our intervention was carried out in stages. In 1964 we intervened from the air. In 1967, 10,000 Greek soldiers were expelled from the island, but the real intervention took place in 1974. The 1974 intervention was the intervention we had in mind when we concluded the Zurich and London agreements in 1958-1959.”

The Turkish Cypriot community has been under the effective control of the Turkish military since 1 August 1958, when command of the Turkish Cypriot underground organization TMT was given to a mainland Turkish officer. From that day on the plan of the mainland Turkish “deep state” [derin devlet] under the code name “KIP” (Kibris Istirdat Plani Gaining Back Cyprus) was put into effect. (Ahmet Djavit An, The Turkish Cypriot Political Regime and the Role of Turkey (Nicosia: Cyprus Council of the European Movement, March 2004.)

Although the [Zurich and London] agreements forbade activities promoting Enosis or partition, they had been designed to ensure that the Cypriots’ political rights as citizens derived from their communal allegiance and, indeed, to prohibit the already remote possibility of the emergence of any concept of Cypriot nationhood. Any step in that direction was perceived by Ankara to be a threat to her political hold on the island and was determinedly resisted. Perversely, the Turkish formula required the continuation of Greek manifestations as much as it required Turkish nationalist manifestations. These underlined the need for a partnership state (rather than a majority ruled state) as the only way of maintaining a balance which would not upset Greco-Turkish relations. Thus the patronising advice proffered from time to time by visiting dignitaries that the Greeks and Turks of Cyprus should learn to be Cypriots, was not only galling, but irrelevant as long as they, at the same time, insisted that no attempt should be made to revise the constitution. The Turkish Government had indicated during the Greco-Turkish talks at the beginning of 1959 that they did not intend the island to be fully independent. They envisaged it as being ‘neither Greek nor Cypriot but Turkish-Greek’. (From Diana Markides, “The Issue of Separate Municipalities in Cyprus 1957–1963: An Overview”, Journal of Mediterranean Studies 1998, 8 [2]: 177–204.)

More to come...

Compiled by P.A.