Turkey Deserves More Blame for Cyprus
During the past few weeks there has been a discussion in the columns of The Tech about the Cyprus issue. The recent letter by Siddak Sinan Keskin G ["Biased Opinions on Cyprus Issue Bode Ill for Peace," Oct. 28] does not seem to be as outrageous, provoking, and bad-tempered as the guest column by Kerem Limon '97, Levent M. Talgar '97 and members of the Turkish Students Association ["Infinite Corridor Posters Push Fascism for Cyprus," Oct. 14], a fact which is greatly appreciated; but I think that it is still misleading and fails itself to reflect the reality of the situation in Cyprus and be objective, as it implicitly claims.
In an effort to justify the Turkish invasion in Cyprus, Keskin claims that the "intervention of the Turkish army" was not a planned event but a sudden necessity because of the genocide of Turkish-Cypriots by some extremist Greek-Cypriot minority. Even if we accept this "unbiased" point of view, I think that any objective person would still have doubts about the particular way Turkey chose to "intervene" and divide Cyprus into two parts.
In fact, Turkey has always planned the invasion in Cyprus and the "taksim" (partition) of the island, prior to 1974. In 1939, soon after the annexation of Hatay, a predominantly Syrian city, Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey stated: "The turn of Cyprus has not yet come".
In 1956 the Turkish-Cypriot leader F. Kutchuck submitted on a map taksim proposals dividing Cyprus to North and South. Since the 1974 Turkish invasion deviated from the 1956 plan only in minor details, I have trouble accepting the author's statement that the invasion was not planned. On the other hand the current Turkish-Cypriot leader Denktash himself contradicted the author's argument of protectionism of the Turkish-Cypriot minority when he stated, "Even if the Turkish-Cypriots did not exist, Turkey would not have left Cyprus to Greece."
Of course there were problems between the two communities in the 1950s and 1960s and innocent Turkish-Cypriots did suffer from extremists condemned by the overwhelming majority of the Greek-Cypriots and the Cypriot government. Unfortunately, many of these acts were directed by Turkey in an effort to prove that the two communities could not live together.
Denktash for instance is still bragging about planting a bomb in 1958 outside the Turkish consulate which was blamed on Greek-Cypriots and caused a great deal of strife between the two communities. In 1963 TNT, a Turkish-Cypriot terrorist group, attacked and killed the publishers of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Cumhuriet, for supporting cooperation between the two communities. I could go on and mention bombings of civilians by Turkish planes in 1964 and 1967. Even the then-Secretary General of the United Nations U Thant in a report blamed Turkey for trying to "reinforce the claim that the two communities cannot live together." It is thus clear that the tension created in Cyprus one or two decades before 1974, on which the authors of the letters mentioned above have elaborated so much, was supported by Turkey and by no means justifies the Turkish invasion.
Finally the author uses the standard excuse of Turkish propaganda that Turkey had the duty to defend the 18 percent Turkish-Cypriot minority as a result of an international treaty. The constitutional order in Cyprus was indeed wrongly violated by the unpopular military junta of Greece. The democratic people of Greece were also victims of the junta and cannot be held responsible for the actions of its leaders who are still serving life sentences.
But Turkey's duty was to protect the constitutional order of Cyprus and, I believe, any unbiased person would agree that killing, raping and humiliating civilians as well as destroying the island's cultural heritage, such as churches and ancient Greek monuments, is not justifiable and did not serve the purpose of restoring the constitutional order. If that was why Turkey invaded Cyprus, I'm wondering why the Turkish troops are still present on the island 20 years after the invasion occupying its territory. I'm wondering in what ways the Turkish-Cypriots have benefited from the invasion which imposed separation on them. I'm wondering how healthy it is for the Turkish-Cypriot community to have the same political leader for more than 20 years.
More than 60,000 Turkish settlers have been transported to the occupied areas, in an attempt to change the demographic character of the island. These settlers, while Turks, are completely different culturally from the Turkish-Cypriots whose culture is very similar to their Greek counterparts. The Turkish-Cypriots are becoming a minority in the occupied areas and are migrating to other western countries. I'm wondering who has benefited so far from the invasion besides Turkish expansionism.
As a conclusion, I would like to point out that it is not to the interest of the Turkish side to talk about the past. In fact it is not to anyone's interest to talk further about the past. What we should all be concerned with is how a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue can be found, which will be acceptable not by Greece or Turkey, but by the people of Cyprus. And certainly, peace cannot be achieved by the presence of 30,000 troops in the north part of the island.
Christos A. Athanasiadis G