CLEARLY THAT GREECE AND THE GREEK CYPRIOTS
INTENDED TO WIPE OUT THE TURKISH CYPRIOTS
GENOCIDE by HARRY SCOTT GIBBONS*
For several years following the publication of my book, The Genocide Files, I have been repeatedly asked for my opinion on how the Cyprus problem can be solved, meaning: ‘What was the future of Northern Cyprus?’
Until now, I have always answered along these lines:
The Cyprus problem was solved in July 1974, when the Turkish Armed Forces intervened in the vicious civil war that followed a covert Greek invasion and an Athens inspired and led coup that deposed the president. This intervention - which was legal under the terms of the Treaty of Guarantee, which is firmly embedded in the Cyprus Constitution - brought the civil war to an end, overturned the coup and thus forestalled enosis (union with Greece), which the coup leaders later said they intended to declare and which was another act specifically forbidden under the Constitution.
I have then been asked why, after the separation of the two races led in 1983 to the establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, no country except Turkey recognised the validity of the new country. I have always replied that it would be only a matter of time. There was, I said, a de facto recognition; Northern Cyprus was a reality, not simply a dream like enosis was for the Greeks.
It had a democratically elected president, government and parliament and there had been no ‘inter-communal fighting’, as the Greeks always described their attacks on the Turks, since the 1974 intervention. And one day, I said, the de jure recognition would surely come without the need for any drastic change in the workings of this independent, quiet and peaceful little country.
But recent events have made me amend this viewpoint. I do believe now that Turkey and Northern Cyprus must bring about some drastic change or changes if this Turkish safe haven is to survive. But I must go into the past to show how I have altered my view. A side effect of the intervention was to allow the return to power of the legally elected president, Archbishop Makarios. I do not believe the archbishop ever thanked Turkey for this munificence, instead demanding till the day of his death the expulsion of the Turkish Cypriots from the safe haven the intervention had given them, perhaps extending the maxim, ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’ to ‘Beware also of bestowing gifts on Greeks’.
The intervention gave Turkish Cypriots the northern third of the island and an exchange of populations, that the Greek Cypriots agreed to, confirmed the acceptance of the existence of two distinct entities - each inhabited by its own race and each with its own religion and language. It was a de facto ethnic safe haven for the Turks of Cyprus.
But hardly had the ink dried on this agreement - signed on the Greek side by the present President of Greek Cyprus, Glafcos Clerides - than the Greek Cypriots showed once again that they will not abide by any agreement that does not suit their plans for their own future.
When Makarios, the spearhead of the terrorist organisation EOKA, which had for years murdered Britons, Turks and Greeks alike in its ambition to end Britain’s colonial occupation and unite the island with Greece, signed up to a constitution for the establishment of a new Cyprus republic, he agreed to give up for ever his single-minded quest for enosis.
But, as soon as the republic was born in 1960, the Greeks began calling for the constitution’s amendment, with the specific purpose of declaring the forbidden enosis. Unfortunately for this plan, the Turkish Cypriots had been given specific safeguards that would ensure their equality with the Greeks and remove all physical threats to their survival (threats which enosis would certainly impose). Among these safeguards was the power of the veto invested in the Turks. Therefore, in Greek eyes, the Constitution simply had to go.
During the night of 20-21 December 1963, the Greeks launched a series of attacks on Turks throughout the Nicosia area. The combined forces of uniformed Greek Cypriot police and civilian EOKA gunmen began systematically to murder Turks and arrest and disarm Turkish policemen. At the same time, the Greek Cypriots took complete control of the Cyprus government information organisation and announced that the ‘legal’ authorities were putting down a Turkish uprising.
Within days, Turkish civil servants throughout the island had been ousted from their positions and Greeks now ran the entire governmental administration. Armed EOKA thugs physically prevented the vice-president, a Turk, Dr Fazõl Küçük, from entering his office. But, at ground level, the Greek actions seemed so haphazard that although it quickly became obvious the attack on the Turks was premeditated, the extent of the planning was not fully discovered until April 1966, when a Greek Cypriot newspaper, Patris, gave details of what has become known as the Akritas Plan. This was the first exercise in ethnic cleansing - racial extermination or genocide, as I prefer to call it - the Makarios government undertook.
The object of this ethnic cleansing, as the Akritas Plan explained, was to prepare for the amendment of the Constitution in such a way as to allow the government to legally - in its eyes at least - unite the island with Greece, the Greek Cypriot ‘Motherland’. In the plan, there were details given on how to provoke the Turks into taking up arms against the government so that the ‘legal’ forces of the state could be empowered to crush what would be called a Turkish revolt, expel all Turks from the police and every other government institution, seal off the Turkish population in enclaves throughout the island, and pronounce a fait accompli before Christmas 1963. The Akritas Plan envisaged that the Western world would be too preoccupied with Christmas festivities to interfere in time to prevent enosis. Further, not only would the speed of events take Turkey by surprise, but Turkey would also be unable to call a meeting of the two other Guarantor Powers, Britain and Greece, who together were pledged to keep Cyprus independent, in time to prevent the island’s union with Greece.
Patris claimed that Makarios had personally organised the entire scheme and had made the military preparations himself. The paper wrote, “Makarios entrusted Yorgadjis [Polycarpos Yorgadjis, former EOKA gunman and now Minister of the Interior] who took the code name of Akritas, with the task of establishing the organisation. The Minister of Labour, Tassos Papadopoulos, was appointed deputy chief of the organisation, and Glafcos Clerides [then Speaker of the 50-member Cyprus parliament] became the Chief of Operations.” Clerides is now, of course, President of the Greek South Cyprus and recognised by the world as the president of the whole island.
What became known as the Christmas War or, in the Turkish version, Bloody Christmas, was actually the Akritas Plan for genocide. There was bloody slaughter of the Turks and the Greeks also paid a terrible penalty in deaths and injuries when the Turkish fighters hit back, but the Greeks’ aim, enosis, was not realised.
I believe I had a part in wrecking this plan. I was based in Cyprus at that time as the Middle East correspondent of the London Daily Express and had arrived back from an assignment in Africa the day before the shooting began. In fact, I was having dinner in a Nicosia restaurant and heard the first shots ring out.
I sent a report on this to my newspaper and gave more details the following day. The result was that the foreign press poured in, swamping the cable office and telephone lines with reports of Greek atrocities. The success of the Akritas Plan was based on suffocating all Turkish protest and keeping the operation as secret as possible while enosis was arranged. Now the whole world knew what was going on and, while the fierce fighting continued, the element of surprise had been lost. Christmas came and went, by which time the three Guarantor Powers had become involved, as had the United Nations, and enosis was not achieved.
But, as I said, the Akritas Plan for Genocide, was not known for years. In the interval, the now famous Green Line was drawn across the capital city, Nicosia, to protect the Turkish quarter, a United Nations peace force arrived, Makarios received a slap on the wrist and was told to behave himself and the world’s press left. I was sent to Istanbul for a year, after which I quit newspaper work for a time to write a book on the ongoing war in the Yemen.
The bloodshed continued on the island for 11 years after that Christmas, but the world had now lost interest. Those 11 years were hell on earth for the Turkish Cypriots, starved, hounded from pillar to post by the now all-Greek authorities, and pursued by the emergent Greek Cypriot National Guard led by mainland Greek officers. And, where they had owned 35 percent of the land, mostly the best agricultural acreage, they were now squeezed into three percent of it, spread across the island in tiny enclaves.
The Greeks of Cyprus had attempted genocide against their fellow citizens, the Turks, and had failed. 11 years later, they tried again.
The Cyprus Turks were still in bondage, deprived of their human rights, surviving on handouts from the Turkish government, their lives with no apparent future. Makarios, meanwhile, had quarrelled with the Greek generals’ new junta, which had replaced the Colonels’ junta that had ruled Greece from 1967 to 1973. The result of this was that, while Makarios, Clerides, et al. were preparing the second, definitive, Final Solution of the Turkish Problem, namely another genocide offensive, the Athens junta led by General Dimitrios Ioannides was preparing to solve its Makarios Problem.
The second genocide attempt, as it was later revealed, was due to begin some time after 10 July 1974, the actual date not specified. Athens was totally involved in this plan as documents captured later were to prove, but the contentious attitude of Makarios apparently made them decide to take over and execute it themselves. The result, as I wrote in my book, was in Makarios and General Ioannides seeking to best each other in deviousness, ending with a plot, not from within, but hastily slammed on top of another plot, a Byzantine cocktail with a squeeze of Machiavelli, a recipe for a brutal, gory debacle.
On 15 July 1974, the Greek Cypriot National Guard and an army of Greek mainland troops, who had been smuggled in without the knowledge of Makarios, staged a successful coup in Nicosia. Blowing up the presidential palace outside the city walls, the death of Makarios was announced and a new president, the EOKA killer, Nicos Sampson, a long-time friend of General Ioannides, was installed. Sampson immediately attempted to allay any fears the Cyprus Turks may have (with good reason) been entertaining, promising they would be unharmed. I wondered about this at the time, unaware that the plan for their extermination was based, like the 1963 version, on secrecy.
But, Makarios had not died in his palace. He escaped unscathed, managed to make a radio broadcast calling on his supporters to oust his usurpers and the civil war began. Not only had the military coup breached the Constitution, but all over the country Greeks were killing Greeks, and the slaughter begun to include innocent Turkish families fleeing to safety.
After five days, during which some 2000 uniformed and civilian Greeks died, the Turkish armed forces intervened. The landings and their success have been fully recorded elsewhere - including in my book - but here I want to expose the true facts of the second act of genocide.
With the Turkish army on the north of the island was a Greek-speaking liaison officer, Turkish Cypriot fighter Erol Fehim. As his unit moved west of Kyrenia, they came across several hastily abandoned Greek army camps. In the camps they found documents, signed and stamped by the military, giving complete instructions for the obliteration of the Turkish Cypriot population. When Erol Fehim read them, he found he was holding in his hands a plan code named Iphestos [Volcano] 1974.
THESE WERE THE GENOCIDE FILES.
Erol Fehim has translated some of them for me, and I found them horrifying. They detail the enclaves and villages to be ‘cleansed’. Even the sleepy little village of Templos, now Zeytinlik, where, in the sanctuary of Ottoman House, I wrote the Genocide Files and studied these documents, was to be wiped out.
Every detail of the extermination plans is revealed, the villages to be wiped out with their inhabitants, the units assigned to specific areas and tasks, and even where to bury the Turkish corpses, it is all there. It is frightening reading, and perhaps the most frightening thing of all is the revelation that the Greek Cypriot civilian population was to be organised and brainwashed into joining in the slaughter.
The Genocide Files that I have had translated are only a small part of the mass of instructions sent out to the Greek Cypriot National Guard during the months leading up to the Greek coup d’état. But, these particular ones deal with the area where they were captured, from Kyrenia, north of Nicosia, to Morphou Bay, in the north-west of the island.
After reading them, it becomes apparent that Greek Cypriot assertions that the coup had nothing to do with the Turkish Cypriots were ludicrous. In view of the FACT that these files show CLEARLY THAT GREECE AND THE GREEK CYPRIOTS INTENDED TO WIPE OUT THE TURKISH CYPRIOTS, their protestations - kept up to this day - that no harm was intended to the Turks must be one of the most monstrous, pitiless, callous, cynical lies I have ever come across.
Only in the Serb-Bosnia conflict 20 years later is there a comparison. When Serb shells were fired deliberately into crowded Moslem market places and other busy centres, even a cemetery where a funeral was taking place, blowing innocent civilians to pieces, the Serb propaganda machine immediately claimed the Bosnian Moslems had fired the shots, murdering their own people to gain sympathy from the rest of the world!
How do humans become like this? Was God looking the other way when these people were created?
Those involved, or to be involved, in the extermination plans are detailed in the document with the File number 216/5/296, dated 7 March 1974. It was issued by the National Guard’s 3rd High Military Tactical Command in Nicosia and signed by its commander, Mikhael Georgitses.
The plans stated clearly that the Greek Cypriot population was to be “organised” to assist the Greek Cypriot National Guard in “cleansing” designated villages of their Turkish inhabitants. Greek women and children were to be kept in their homes, but should they decide to flee any consequent fighting, the Greek Cypriot Ministries of Interior, Defence and Labour were made responsible for providing shelter, food and other necessities for them. The Ministry of Health was to take care of their physical well being.
So the ENTIRE GREEK CYPRIOT POPULATION WAS TO BE MOBILISED TO TAKE PART IN GENOCIDE, THE MURDER OF TURKS, THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS FOR OVER 400 YEARS, THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE ISLAND.
Iphestos 1974 was described as an Internal Security (SEA) operation. It was not being done in the guise of warding off an attack by Turkey. In fact, Turkey was not mentioned. This was to be purely an internal affair, the business of no outside party, something between Cypriots alone. The Greek Cypriots would kill; the Turkish Cypriots would die. As simple as that.
Commander Haralambos Hios of the National Guard had sent his orders to the following units: the 256th and 276th Infantry Battalions, the 222nd, 261st, 306th, 316th, 321st, 366th and 391st Reserve Battalions, the 183rd Field Artillery Battalion, the 173rd and 190th Anti-tank Artillery Battalions, the 47th Communications Company and other reserve forces.
These in turn passed on their instructions to the units under their command, giving the names of the Turkish areas to be ‘cleansed’.
A typical example is the instruction, File No. 210/11/61, sent out on 12 June 1974 by the 256th Infantry Battalion from its headquarters at Dhiorios (now Tepebaşõ) near Myrtou (Çamlõbel), some 17 miles west of Kyrenia.
The introduction to the order is more or less identical in all the other orders sent out. “The initiative to begin the operations is undertaken by the General Staff of the National Guard (GEEF) with the approval of the Cyprus Government and the Headquarters of the AED [Greek mainland Armed Forces].”
Right from the start, the genocide operation was shown to be a joint one with the military High Command in Athens. It may have been called Internal Security but it was plainly masterminded by and with a lot of help from Greece.
The entire genocide programme was to be carried out “with the approval of the Cyprus Government....”
At that time, 1974, the Cyprus government was of course, all-Greek, and was therefore illegal under the terms of the 1960 Constitution. But, illegal or not, it was the recognised government of the island. So, this government, recognised by the United Nations and the whole world, had given its approval to the ‘cleansing’ of a fifth of its people.
Under the headline ‘Mission’, the directive explained:
“Part of the mission is to prepare the Greek Cypriot population psychologically and to organise them and the police for their wider participation in the cleansing of the Turkish Cypriot enclaves and pockets, using every means available (weapons etc). These are to be used by each Company as necessary or as needed for each operation.”
The language and style are typically stilted military, but the meaning is brutally clear.
“Attack at night, silently, without using lights, as quickly as possible, for the cleansing of the Lefka [Lefke] enclave and the pockets of Ayia Irini [now Akdeniz], Kazivera [Gaziveren], Elia [Doğancõ] and Angolemi [Taşpõnar].”
These villages spread in a line from Lefke, just south of Soli, to Myrtou, covering the rich farmlands along the south and east of Morphou Bay (now Güzelyurt Bay).
Lefke, with a population of around 4,000, has been a Turkish stronghold since 1570, 200 years before the United States of America was created. It lies between Morphou Bay and the arid northern foothills of the Troodos mountains. Its citrus orchards and date palm groves have been famous for centuries. Two perennial rivers ran for centuries from the Troodos through the Lefke plain to the bay. In the past few years, however, Greek South Cyprus has interrupted much of this flow by means of dams. Nevertheless, Lefke still has enough water to be able to send supplies by truck tankers to drought-hit areas as distant as Famagusta on the east coast.
Lefke would have been a rich spoil of war after its cleansing.
And preparations were to be made immediately “to cut off the electricity supply to the Lefke area from the sub-station at Peristeronari, the responsibility of the 2nd Company of the 356th Battalion, when the plan commences.” Peristeronari (now Cengizköy) near Lefke, is not to be confused with Peristerona, a Greek town south of Morphou. Another file, 210/14/4034 dated March 31 and issued by the headquarters of the National Guard in Morphou, dealt with this town. It gave instructions to “keep under observation the pocket of Peristerona, with full preparation to participate in the cleansing of same.”
The specific units to be used to attack the various Turkish towns were named. For example, the 391st Reserve Infantry Battalion would destroy Ambelikou (Bağlõköy). Then Lefke, Kokkina (Erenköy) and Limnitis (Yeşilõrmak) were to be wiped out with artillery supporting fire. The 261st Battalion would clean up Xerovounos (Kurutepe).
Water supplies were to be cut off to Lefke by the 1st Company of the 356th, by the 2nd Company in Kazivera, Elia, Angolemi and Kalo Chorio (Çamlõköy), and by the 3rd Company in Ayia Irini.
The Turks of the Kyrenia area were not to be neglected. The File 210/12/76 was issued by the 3rd High Military Command in Kyrenia on 18 April 1974. The campaign would start, it stated, with the cleansing of Templos (Zeytinlik), at the western edge of Kyrenia, by the 251st Infantry Battalion. This force would also wipe out the Turkish quarter of Kyrenia, leaving that important north seaport entirely in Greek hands.
Then the National Guard, the police and the Greek Cypriot civilian population would move over the Kyrenia Pass to Aghirda, on the southern slopes of towering St Hilarion, on to Krini (Põnarbaşõ) and finally Photta (Dağyolu), all just west of the main Nicosia-Kyrenia road, thus isolating the fighters on Hilarion and putting the Turkish lifeline to Kyrenia at the mercy of Greek artillery and mortars.
The plans for genocide tried to leave nothing to chance. While it was mentioned in the files that it was unlikely the United Nations Peace Force would intervene - it was a pretty safe assumption, the UN soldiers having kept as much as possible out of the way of the Greeks for years - the plans called for UN uniforms to be used to fool their intended Turkish victims.
Under ‘Instructions for Co-ordination’, the 18 April File directed:
“The 2nd and 3rd Bureaux [Intelligence and Operations] of Tactical Group Command should prepare themselves for the implementation of this plan in order to carry out activities such as wearing [UN] Peace Force uniforms and vehicles, cutting off water supplies, electricity and telephone lines...”
In 1964, when the UN Peace Force was established, EOKA gunmen used crude replicas of UN equipment, painting their helmets blue and wearing blue armbands to penetrate Turkish areas.
The 7 March File also described how Turkish bodies “would be buried in the vicinity of Turkish Cypriot graveyards.” I can only speculate that this would be done to somehow give the impression that they had died natural deaths and their burials had nothing to do with genocide.
A great amount of planning had gone into preparing the Greek Cypriot civilian population to take part in the massacres. The 31 March File from Morphou demanded: “people and organisations should be psychologically prepared in order to ensure their participation in the struggle and operations of cleansing the Turkish regions.”
This brainwashing was assigned to the 1st (Personnel), 2nd and 3rd Bureaux of the Tactical Group Command. Then each military unit was expected to prepare the civilians in its own area to “co-operate fully” with the armed forces.
Apparently, Greek Cypriots were deemed incapable of civilian psychological preparation and organisation on such a large scale, and these duties were given to the officers of the Greek army contingent and the Greek officers in the National Guard. From the Files, it appears that every National Guard unit was by this time under the command of a mainland Greek or had at least one or more mainland Greek officers with it.
The 12 June File from Dhiorios decreed that prior notice of attack was to be given to civilians and “necessary contacts” established. The population would then, alongside the military and police forces, cleanse the Turkish villages.
While this was going on, plans were also made to supply the National Guard, if necessary, by air. As the Guard had no airborne supply facilities, I am assuming the Greek Air Force would have carried this out.
Attached to the 7 March 1974 File was a map of Cyprus to the scale of 1:100,000 and maps to the scale of 1:50,000 for both Turkish and Greek sectors of Nicosia, Lapithos (now Lapta) and Ayia Irini. Maps were also issued for two other areas. One was for Paleometokho, a largish town just west of Nicosia airport, the other for Lefkonikon (Geçitkale), a town in the centre of a group of Turkish villages in the Mesarya plain between Nicosia and Famagusta Bay.
And although I have no captured files or maps covering the rest of the country, later events prove that it was the intention to cleanse the whole island of Turks, and I am forced to conclude that Genocide Files were prepared and issued for all Cyprus.
Paratroopers, presumably to be part of any airdrop, had been secretly trained in Greece. Genocide File 330/7/25507 - dated 13 February 1974 and issued in Nicosia under the signature of Constantinos Kombokis, commander of the Cyprus Commando Forces, to the 31st, 32nd and 33rd Commando Units - gave the names of the first officers selected.
The training in Greece of officers to command units had also taken place. File 330/110/43287, dated 7 August 1973, named the Greek Cypriot officers to attend the Halkidos Infantry School in Greece.
The three-month course was from 10 September to 15 December 1973. The chosen men sailed from Limassol on the A/B Kipros at 16:00 hours on 5 September. They wore civilian clothes. They were also issued with identity cards with their photos in civilian clothes.
There were 33 names on the list, given under the signature of National Guard staff officer Pavlos Papadakis. One name had been crossed out. Commando training also took place in Cyprus.
Revised orders kept pouring out, perhaps because of the changing political situation. Then Commander Haralambos Hios began making his final preparations and advising the units under his command.
On 31 May 1974, File 210/75/3057 made certain alterations in the genocide plans and Hios told his units to complete their preparations by June 10.
On 3 July, Hios sent out what was apparently his last order before the onslaught was to commence. In File 210/109/2176, he gave the final changes in this ‘Top Secret’ order.
“The units will work out the necessary modifications in the plans concerning their own sections of the operations and return them to me by July 10, 1974.”
So, it appeared that the plans in the Genocide Files would be put into operation some time after 10 July. What had been tried unsuccessfully in 1963, 1964 and 1967 would be attempted once more.
But this time it would be different. This was not to be the haphazard killing spree of the Akritas Plan, with so much study given to thwarting foreign criticism, masterminded by the unholy trinity of Makarios, Yorgadjis and Clerides, with armed civilians charging this way, that way and every which way, a massacre here, a slaughter there.
This time it was the Iphestos 1974 plan. It had been carefully plotted, meticulously worked out, with the sort of care that had gone into the Normandy landings in 1944, if you like. The moon landings, even. There were plans, hundreds of plans, and thousands of typewritten pages and maps, gone over and corrected, and altered and changed. Every command headquarters, every unit, every man knew exactly what to do.
And there would be no need to worry about foreign opinion, for it would be over swiftly, with a speed that would catch the world unawares. It would be all over before Turkey could get an invasion fleet on the move.
This time the army would be in charge, the National Guard with its mainland Greek officers and the mainland Greek contingent. And hundreds more Greek officers clandestinely flown in to urge on the great mob of civilians and police who would help in the 1974 Cyprus Rites of Genocide. And it would all be run from Athens, the capital of the Mother Country, Greece. This was the brainchild of General Dimitrios Ioannides, the strongman, who needed the conquest of Cyprus to consolidate his rule, to be hailed by his disenchanted people as the man who gave Greece the first stepping stone to a new Hellenic Empire.
For Cyprus, it would be the Final Solution.
But it was not to be. Greece and the Greeks were to be denied their twin ambitions - the annihilation of the Cyprus Turks and enosis. For, despite the furious protests of Britain, the United States and, of course Greece, in the five days of civil war on the island, Turkey managed the incredible feat of planning, organising and carrying out the successful sea and air landings that gave the persecuted Turks their own country.
It should have been the Turkish version of the Final Solution. But the new factor of the European Union and its expansionist aggression frightens me. The way I see it now is that the Greek Cypriots and their Greek mainland allies - or masters, perhaps - having failed twice to remove the Turks from Cyprus, see the Union as a way to succeed with genocide by stealth.
The Union will allow the whole island of Cyprus, before the north and south situation is solved, into the Union with assurances to Turkey that she will follow as soon as possible - but no signed guarantee, of course. Once inside the union and with Turkey still outside, the Europeans can demand the withdrawal of the Turkish forces from the island on the grounds that it is now an alien force inside the Union, invaders no less, and must go.
As soon as that happens, we know - from the experiences of the past - just what will happen to the Turks of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. The Greeks will take homes and land whether or not they were ever Greek-owned, the Turks will become officially a minority, as promised by the Greeks, and settled in “social housing”, as promised by Glafcos Clerides himself. And that will be the beginning of the end for the Turks. And there will be shots fired, make no mistake about that, and there will be killings, just as there have been ever since the Greeks have wanted the Turks out of Cyprus. Few would ever reach the Promised Land of social housing, the Arbeit Macht Frei of the Third Reich that sent millions of Jews to death, and the bulldozers may once again be sealing ubiquitous mass graves that are the mark of the Greek Cypriot.
This scenario may never happen, but I fear it could because the protection of Turkey will cease if there is a unilateral entry to the EU by Cyprus. President Rauf Denktaş points out that Glafcos Clerides stated this when he declared, “When we enter the EU, Turkey’s guarantor status will cease to exist.”
And, says President Denktaş, “He is speaking the truth. Once EU membership is accomplished, whatever we have discussed with the Greeks so far - bi-zonality, communality, restrictions of freedoms of travel, settlement and owning property - will all contradict EU laws.”
Therefore, another solution to bear in mind is some kind of federation with Turkey, should it be necessary to beat the European Union to the punch. Britain already has this kind of federation with Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is composed of Great Britain (itself composed of Scotland, England and Wales) and Northern Ireland. There is a sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There is one between Turkey and North Cyprus. Northern Ireland is the north part of the island called Ireland. North Cyprus is the north part of the island of Cyprus.
The whole could be called the UR - the United Republic of Turkey and North Cyprus. Perhaps even the United Republics of Turkey, North Cyprus and other Turkic states that have emerged since the end of the Cold War. But if the whole of Cyprus enters the European Union without the simultaneous entry of Turkey, I feel sure enosis will swiftly take place, and Turkey will be surrounded by Greek sovereign territory. And that is a scenario for war.
The Turks of Cyprus may find themselves all too soon in a dilemma - unite with Greece and become a despised and persecuted minority or unite with Turkey and remain free.
Harry Scott Gibbons, 2001
* Harry Scott Gibbons is a journalist. He served in the Middle East, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and the United States and is the author of the book The Genocide Files, published by Charles Bravos, London, 1997.
PERCEPTIONS, JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS,September - November 2001 Vol. VI Num. 3
* * *
THE GENOCIDE FILES by H.SCOTT GIBBONS, 1997
WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU , A TIME OF GOODWILL TO ALL MEN, A TIME TO SPEND
WITH YOUR FAMILY AND A JOYFULL TIME FOR ALL CHILDREN THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANT TO ME .
UNTILL CHRISTMAS 1963 IN CYPRUS.
On Christmas Eve, 1963, there were 120 Turks living in the mixed hamlet of Ayios Vasiliosstraddling the road between Nicosia and Myrtou in the Northwest. Some time that evening, cars and trucks drove into the village From the direction of Nicosia. Armed men poured out of the Vehicles. They had a brief discussion at the coffee shop at one end Of the village, then they moved purposefully towards the Turkish Quarter. Shots rang out, rifle butts smashed against locked doors, people Were dragged into the streets.
A 70-yr-old Turk was awakened by the sounds of his front door Splintering. Tottering out of his bedroom, he found several young Armed men inside the house. "Have you any children," they asked. Bewildered, he replied, "Yes." "Send them outside," he was ordered. His two sons, 19 and 17 years old, and his granddaughter, aged 10 hastily dressed and followed the gunmen outside.
They were lined up outside the cottage wall. The gunmen, Without another word, coolly machine-gunned them to death. In another house, a 13-yr-old boy had his hands tied behind his Knees and was thrown on the floor. While the house was being Ransacked, his captors kicked and abused him. Then a pistol was Placed at the back of his head and he was shot.
Altogether, 12 Turks were massacred that evening in Ayios Vasilios. The others were rounded up and kicked and punched along the Highway to Skylloura, a few miles further in the direction of Myrtou, to seek refuge with Turks there. In night attire and bare Feet, they stumbled along in the cold, the Greeks shooting after Them in the darkness. Then the gunmen turned their attention to the Turkish houses. They looted and destroyed and finally, exhausted, they set the Houses on fire.
The Greek inhabitants of the village, roused by the Noise, stood watching the orgy of destruction.
None protested. After the gunmen had gone, they rushed to the Turkish houses And began to loot the remaining possessions of their neighbours Before the flames took too firm a hold. In isolated farmhouses in the same region, nine more Turks Were murdered.
When the Turks of Skylloura saw the flames of Ayios Vasilios, They sent their women and children across the fields to Phota and Krini in the north. As the Vasilios refugees arrived, they too were taken north. By Midnight, Skylloura was also evacuated. Left behind were the Turkish houses, their possessions and their Greek neighbours. The Long, ragged lines plodded wearily north, seeking safety, sanctuary, Respite from this terrifying savagery that had descended on them, Stumbling along in the darkness of the cruel, cold, Christmas morn.
At the same time, over 150 armed Greeks descended on the Turkish Suburb of Kumsal, Northwest of the Nicosia walls near the Turkish village of Ortakoy which straddled the road to Kyrenia. That evening, Hasan Yusuf Gudum, an elderly Turkish Landlord was visiting one of his clients in Kumsal.With him was his wife, Ferideh, his neighbour Mrs. Ayshe Mora with her one-year-old daughter, Ishin, and her married sister, Novber.
They were paying a call on the family of Major Nihat Ilhan, the Chief medical officer with the mainland Turkish army contingent. The major was on duty that "night with his unit. His wife, Muruvvet, was with their three children, Murat, Kutsi and Hakan, aged seven Four and six months. The nine were having supper in the dining room when one of the Greek private armies, augmented by workers from the Severis flour Mill whom had - willingly or under coercion - joined their ranks, Crossed the dry Pedieos riverbed. The conversation around the dining table cut off abruptly when Bullets began to spatter the outside walls, sounding like heavy rain.
The group rose hurriedly, the women dragging the children and Gudum ushered them to the back part of the house.They all, four women", four children and Bathroom and closed the door. The landlord's wife suddenly Changed her mind, left the Bathroom and went into the separate toilet where she locked herself.
Mrs. Ilhan, the major's wife, stepped into the bath, and holding Her baby stood facing the door, her other two children clinging onto her legs.
The two other Woman and Cudum crawled terrified into the Corners beside the door. Mrs. Ayshe Mora held her baby close. There was a crash as the front door burst open and a continuous roar as machine-gun bullets Spewed through the house. Footsteps came to the locked bathroom, an unknown hand Impatiently rattled the knob, and a voice called in Greek, ` "How would you like Enosis"
Then a hail of bullets tore through the wood and Mrs. llhall and Her children, caught directly in its path, were lifted off their feet and Dumped on to the bottom of the bath. The killers smashed the door lock and jumped inside. One of The major's children moaned and was scolded into permanent Silence by a short peremptory burst. Then the raiders saw the others Huddled on the floor.
They played their guns on them like impatient Children forced to water the garden flowers. The three Turks were All wounded some seriously. A bullet struck the foot of the baby Ishin. The locked door of the toilet drew the gunmen's attention to The landlord's wife. The door was beaten in by machine-gun butts And the woman was dragged out whimpering. A pistol was placed To her head, one shot was fired, and she slumped to the floor, dead.
The killers whooping and jeering, charged through the house, Machine-gunning cupboards, smashing furniture, slipping and Sliding on the dark red blood that crept out of the bathroom. lshin Mora, the baby, survived, and after several operations her Foot was saved. Today, aged 35, lshin is married with a young son. She owns the supermarket Can (pronounced Jan) Kan on Shakespeare Avenue in Nicosia. Her limp reminds her of the Atrocity she was too young to understand.
Ozer Jambaz was one of the Fighters who went with the retreat Through the Greek quarter. "As the long column straggled past, he told me, "the Greeks Went up to their lofts and removed some of the red roof tiles, not Enough for themselves to be seen, Just enough to stick a gun Through. And then they began shooting down on those defenceless People. We had no ammunition and had to take the punishment.
For the Greeks, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. They were our Neighbours, the same ones who say today that they had always Lived peacefully with us. They were bastards, absolute bastards! There were many injured. But it could have been worse. We could All have died. "If Sampson and his army had had the courage to attack us - as He alleged he did in his memoirs - he could have killed the 5,000 of us. We were completely defenceless by this time. We would have been at their mercy and we were finding out , through those neighbours of ours that the Greeks had no mercy".
Ever since Sandys had literally forced the Greeks to return the Turkish hostages from Kykkos school, lrene Checkley of the St John's Ambulance Corps and the International Red Cross Representatives on the island had been touring the country armed With a list of missing Turks. Among them were the names of the 21 Patients who had vanished from Nicosia Central Hospital Eventually, they received information that the patients had died And had been burried in the little cemetery at Ayios Vasilios
On Monday morning, a group of Turks with spades were escorted by British paratroopers to the graveyard the foreign Press Watched as the digging commenced.
The first spot chosen unearthed, only a few feet down, the first Bodies. Three men had been thrown on top of each other.
The digging continued A family was unearthed, a boy with his Hands still tied behind his knees, a little girl. They were all fully clothed, one an old man with the black Baggy trousers and high boots of the Cypriot peasant.
From the coffee shop at the Greek end of the village, only a few Hundred Yards away came a young Greek on a motor scooter. The Troops stood aside to let him pass through A few minutes later he Returned, stopped and, gazing at the scene with some interest, Calmly. Started to light cigarette. A paratroop sergeant spotted him and yelled. "Get him out of Here!" A soldier sprang forward Gave one unmistakable motion With his thumb, and the Greek roared back to the village.
I got into my Rover and followed . At the coffee shop sat over a dozen young Greeks. The scooter man was regaling them with what He had seen. I walked into the shop. Ordered coffee and returned To sit at a table among the customers I was feeling rather Belligerent. A few minutes later, a Greek police superintendent stood in the road, looking first along at the graveyard and then at Me.
I went over to him and introduced myself he spoke excellent English I said. "You used to have a lot of Turks living here," I said What happened to them?" The superintendent turned a trifle grey. "They left" he said. "Where did they go?" "We tried to stop them but they insisted on leaving and going to Other villages." "There were over one hundred," 1 told him. "Twenty-one never reached the other villages. Have you any idea where they are?"
He shook his head. "They all left." "Twenty-one of them didn't go far," I said. "Just a few hundred yards." He kept looking at me, so I pointed up the road to the huddle of Paratroopers. "They stopped up there," I said, "in the cemetery. They're dead and buried."
He didn't answer, and I was standing there glaring at him, Willing him to say or do something that would give me an excuse to belt him one, when a few other journalists came up. They saw there was a fight brewing and one of them took my arm and took me back to my car. 1 told them what the policeman had said, and we all drove back to witness the grisly scene at the graveyard.
There was no guesswork in deciding the corpses were from Ayios Vasilos and the neighbourhood. The Twenty one patients had been in the hospital when the shooting started. They had. Not been fully clothed. By nightfall, twenty-one bodies had been Exhumed. They were taken to the Turkish quarter of Nicosia for burial. Some were identified immediately as the former residents of Ayios Vasilios. Some were never identified, so badly were they maimed.
How had the 21 hospital patients got mixed up with the 21 Ayios Vasilios villagers?
That night, the Greeks issued a written statement Headed, "Turks distort the truth." It calmly insisted that the Ayios Vasilios bodies were not the villagers at all, but were in fact the Hospital patients. The statement read: "A government spokesman, referring to today's exhumation of Corpses from the Turkish cemetery at Ayios Vasilios and the Unholy exploitation of the subject by the Turkish leadership, has Stated the following: -
During the first days of the incidents, Greece and Turkish Wounded and dead were taken not only to Greek and Turkish Private clinics, but also to the Nicosia General Hospital. Fifty-two Greek wounded and sixteen Greek dead as well as Five Turkish wounded and 21 Turkish dead were removed to the General Hospital. The hospital authorities promptly notified the Minister of Health, who is a Turk, and the Turkish Cypriot Leadership to make Arrangements for the removal of the Turkish dead.
They replied that They would do so. The Red Cross was also informed and a list of The dead was handed to it. But as the days passed and decomposition had begun, the Hospital had no alternative but to make arrangements for the burial Of the bodies, which were interned (sic) in the Turkish cemetery at Ayios Vasilios. The .Turkish Cypriot leadership was again informed Of this. This action of the hospital authorities in seeing to the burial of The bodies ought to be appreciated as a humane gesture. Instead, the Turkish Cypriot leaders thought fit to distort the truth in an attempt To make political capital. Thus showing disrespect not only for the Truth but for their dead."
When the Red Crass finally discovered the burial place, they Were under the impression they would find the bodies of the 21 Who had been patients when the shootings started. The statement was an attempt to account for them, so the Greeks were admitting the hospital patients were in fact dead.
The Attempt was unsuccessful,for the world was already seeing the Photographs of the exhumation and knew from the clothes of the Victims and the filmed evidence that some had their hands tied Behind their backs that they were not hospital in-patients.
The statement also showed there was a deep sickness in the Minds of the Greek Cypriot leadership. Every foreign Correspondent who read it was filled with disgust. The fate of those 71 in-patients was never revealed by the Greeks. But the revolting truth did come to light 25 years later.
The British newspaper "The Guardian." quoting a hitherto Secret report from a certain "Packard".
A naval commander based in Maltil who had been sent to Cyprus to trace missing persons, Reported: "One of Packard's first tasks was to try to find out what had happened to the Turkish hospital patients. Secret discussions took place with a Greek Minister....
It appeared that the Greek medical Staff had slit the Turkish patient's throats as they lay in their beds. Their bodies were loaded on to a truck and driven to a farm north of the city where they were fed into mechanical choppers and ground into the earth." This nauseating behaviour was carried out under the Akritas Plan. Its Chief of Operations was on Glafkos Clerides, code name Hiperides. At the moment of writing he is the President of Greek Cyprus.
On January 15, the conference on Cyprus opened in London. The British were confident a solution would be worked out. The Turks Were hopeful. But Makarios threw another spanner in the works. It had been agreed after hard bargaining through Mr. Sandys That the conference would be………… attended by representatives of their Governments - Britain, Greece and Turkey and the two Cyprus Communities.
This was the official communiqué made by the British High Commission on the departure of Mr. Sandys on January 2, 1964. Greece and Turkey were represented by their foreign ministers, Glafkos Clerides led the Greek Cypriot delegation, Denktash and Osman Orek the Turkish one.
Then Makarios sent his foreign minister, Spyros Kyprianou, accompanied by the Attorney General, Criton Tornnrites QC, to represent the Cyprus government. During the talks, Duncan Sandys, the chairman, treated Kyprianou as the Greek Cypriot delegate, but nevertheless the constitution of the conference had been subtly adulterated and its chances of success were doomed to failure from the outset on account of this Greek Cypriot manoevre for Kyprianou had been sent sabotage the talks.
THE GENOCIDE FILES (book,1997)
CYPRUS, 20 JULY - 14 AUGUST 1974
IT WAS NOT AN INVASION, IT WAS A RESCUE MISSION!