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Infinite Corridor Posters Push Fascism for Cyprus

Guest Column by Kerem Limon '97, Levent M. Talgar '97, and members of the Turkish Students Association

We would like to express our sincere grief and astonishment over the recent postering along the Infinite Corridor concerning the alleged Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and unjust criticism of Turkey's Cyprus policy. As the Turkish Students Association, we have asserted many times that postering of this type is very malicious and serves no positive cause - especially when it is a totally unilateral and inaccurate misrepresentation of the facts.

Our reaction to the attitude taken in the board by those who prepared it (who have so effectively succeeded in concealing their identities) was one of terror and great grief. We were shocked and just as much disappointed to find that the contents of the board were mostly centered upon the ideas and assertions of "Enosis," a fascist policy of the late 1950s and the 1960s, calling upon the unification of the island with Greece, completely ignoring the existence and the true and democratic will and rights of a Turkish population present on the island.

"Enosis" is a policy of the Greek Cypriots which emerged in the late 1940s as a combination of the influence of the extreme communist groups in Greece and Cyprus; and the consistent propaganda of the fascist factions in the Greek army and the extremists in the Cypriot community.

Enosis reached its peak support from the Greek population on the island during the late 1950s and the 1960s when it was the basis for many plans and suggestions submitted to the United Nations and the United Kingdom (which had control over the island until 1959) by the Greek side. Due to its obvious fascist content and orientation, and its extreme and unacceptable negligence of the democratic rights of the Turkish population, Enosis-based plans were consistently refused by the United Nations, until the Zurich and London Agreements of February 1959 which "officially banned Enosis" for the island.

The Cypriot side unilaterally denounced these agreements in 1964 which resulted in the 1964 crisis between Greece and Turkey. Another attempt to keep Enosis alive was made after the military coup in Greece on April 21, 1967, which further drove the negotiations into a blind alley. Quoting from Konstantin Kolias who was immediately appointed prime minister of Greece after the coup, the Greek side was "to achieve Enosis via peaceful negotiations." [Republic of Turkey, Bulletin of the Ministry of External Affairs, April 1967]

Enosis used to be the ensign of the fascist dreams that were about to become reality prior to the Turkish military intervention in 1974. Since then, all negotiations between the two sides have been haunted by the terrorizing thought and vision of this fascist policy, which today, in an age of democracy, tolerance, and compromise seems more obsolete and uncivilized than ever.

A further point of view which has surprised and just as well amused us was the analogy that the creators of the board had unsuccessfully tried to draw between Cyprus and the unification of Germany. After tons and tons of fascist propaganda and elaboration on Enosis, the authors suggest "a unification of the island, like the tearing down of the Berlin Wall" to unite the two populations that had been separated so long.

Unfortunately anyone will recognize that in any case in history, an attempt to draw analogies between two incidents may result in a total misrepresentation of the truth. Comparison between two seemingly alike but essentially different events is a tool frequently utilized by extremists in drawing desired conclusions which, not surprisingly, point in their direction.

The analogy presented by the creators of the board is utterly misleading. The fall of the Berlin Wall not only represented the union of two large groups of people of the same ethnic background whose country had once been united and was segregated by the results of the Second World War; but it also represented the end of the long struggle of those crushed under the load of communism for decades to achieve democracy.

In the Cyprus case, we are dealing with different ethnic groups, who at no point in their history have shared a single independent and democratic nation status.

As the Turkish side, we acknowledge that both sides suffered a great deal as a result of the conflict between the two groups, such as those Cypriots from both ethnic groups who were dislocated and had to move North or South, leaving behind their homes, belongings, property, and sometimes even family members.

However, it should also be understood that it is also very difficult, if not impossible, for the Turkish side to forget the bloody EOKA (the terrorist organization supporting Enosis on the island) murders of children, women, and whole families of Turkish Cypriots in the 1960s, such as the killings of 24 Turks in Lefkose (Nicosia) in December 1963 and planned assaults against the Turkish villages of Gecitkale and Bogazici in November 1967. These were pieces of an organized attempt to eradicate the Turkish population. Despite all counterevidence, we still hope that our belief in a peaceful and democratic solution to the situation on the island is shared by the Greek Cypriot side.

There have always been people with extreme views and opinions in every community. But while heading into the 21st century in an age of democracy and tolerance, fascism or any other anti-democratic policy founded on any type of discrimination on the basis of race, culture, religion, or sex is not the way to reach compromise. Especially if what is put forward by one of the sides is the crumbled remains of a decayed, internationally, and officially despised policy of 30 years ago, with an attempt to keep it from falling apart by misrepresentation of reality and diversion from the truth.

There are always two sides to any story. Yet,no matter how understanding we try to be, it is offensive to come face to face with hatred, lies and racist remarks. Our consolation is our awareness that these views only reflect the opinions of some vocal extremist groups and not the majority of the Greek Cypriot community.