Cypriot intercommunal violence
Cypriot intercommunal violence refers to periods of sectarian conflict
Sectarian violence
Sectarian violence and/or sectarian strife is violence inspired by sectarianism, that is, between different sects of one particular mode of ideology or religion within a nation/community...

 between Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots
Greek Cypriots are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community at 77% of the population. Greek Cypriots are mostly members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity...

 and Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots
Turkish Cypriots are the ethnic Turks and members of the Turkish-speaking ethnolinguistic community of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The term is used to refer explicitly to the indigenous Turkish Cypriots, whose Ottoman Turkish forbears colonised the island in 1571...

 on the island of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 from 1963 to 1974.


In 1914, after the Ottoman Empire joined World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 on the side of the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

, the island was annexed by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Soon afterward, the UK offered the island to King Constantine I of Greece
Constantine I of Greece
Constantine I was King of Greece from 1913 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1922. He was commander-in-chief of the Hellenic Army during the unsuccessful Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and led the Greek forces during the successful Balkan Wars of 1912–1913, in which Greece won Thessaloniki and doubled in...

 on condition that Greece join the war on the side of the British. Although the offer was supported by Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos
Eleftherios Venizelos
Eleftherios Venizelos was an eminent Greek revolutionary, a prominent and illustrious statesman as well as a charismatic leader in the early 20th century. Elected several times as Prime Minister of Greece and served from 1910 to 1920 and from 1928 to 1932...

, it was rejected by the King, who wished to keep Greece out of the war.

After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the new Turkish government formally recognized Britain's sovereignty over Cyprus. Greek Cypriots believed it their natural and historic right to unite the island with Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

Enosis refers to the movement of the Greek-Cypriot population to incorporate the island of Cyprus into Greece.Similar movements had previously developed in other regions with ethnic Greek majorities such as the Ionian Islands, Crete and the Dodecanese. These regions were eventually incorporated...

), as many of the Aegean and Ionian islands had done following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In 1931, riots broke out in Cyprus against the British administration. The British suppressed the riots, abolished the legislative council in Cyprus, and banned all political parties. At the end of the Second World War Britain rejected fresh demands for enosis, offering concessions on home rule, or self-government, instead.

In August 1954 Greece, which had previously avoided involvement in Cyprus because of its alliance with the United Kingdom, unsuccessfully sought to have the question of Cyprus’s status brought before the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

. In the subsequent UN discussions, Turkey announced that it opposed a union of Cyprus with Greece and declared that if Britain withdrew from the island, control of Cyprus should revert to Turkey, as Turks made up a significant portion of the population of the island and had ruled the island for several hundred years prior to leasing the island to the British and the subsequent British annexing of the island in 1914. Greek Cypriots felt that this position paid little respect to the right of self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

 of the Cypriot people.

Enosis and Taksim

The repeated rejections by the British of Greek Cypriot demands for enosis prompted an armed underground campaign by a movement of Greek Cypriots known as the National Organization of Cypriot Struggle, or EOKA
EOKA was an anticolonial, antiimperialist nationalist organisation with the ultimate goal of "The liberation of Cyprus from the British yoke". Although not stated in its initial declaration of existence which was printed and distributed on the 1st of April 1955, EOKA also had a target of achieving...

. EOKA, led by the Greek commander George Grivas
George Grivas
Georgios Grivas , also known by his nom de guerre Digenis , which he adopted while in EOKA, was a Cyprus-born general in the Greek Army, leader of the EOKA guerrilla organization and EOKA B paramilitary organisation.-Early life:Georgios Grivas was born on July 5, 1898 in Trikomo, Famagusta...

, systematically targeted British colonial authorities. One of the effects of the EOKA campaign was to alter the Turkish position from demanding full reincorporation into Turkey to a demand for taksim
Taksim was the objective of Turkish Cypriots who supported a partition of the island of Cyprus into Turkish and Greek portions, a concept declared as early as 1957 by Dr. Fazil Küçük...

(partition). The fact that the Turks were a small minority was, according to Nihat Erim
Nihat Erim
Ismail Nihat Erim was a Turkish politician and jurist. Nihat Erim was born in Kandıra to Raif Erim and Macide Erim. He served as the prime minister of Turkey from 1971 until 1972, for almost 14 months...

, to be addressed by the transfer of thousands of Turks from mainland Turkey so that the Greek Cypriots would cease to be the majority. When Erim visited Cyprus as the Turkish representative, he was advised by the then British Governor John Harding
John Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton
Field Marshal Allan Francis John Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton, GCB, CBE, DSO, MC was a British Army officer and Governor of Cyprus from 1955 to 1957, Cyprus being a British colony at that time....

 that Turkey should send educated Turks to settle in Cyprus.

Turkey actively promoted the idea that on the island of Cyprus two distinctive communities existed, and sidestepped its former claim that “the people of Cyprus were all Turkish subjects”. In doing so, Turkey’s aimed to have self-determination of two to-be equal communities in effect lead to de jure partition of the island. This could be justified to the international community against the will of the majority Greek population of the island. Dr. Fazil Küçük
Fazil Küçük
Fazıl Küçük was the first Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus.Fazıl Küçük, the son of a farmer, was born in Nicosia in 1906. After graduating from the Turkish High School in Nicosia, Küçük went on to study medicine at the Universities of Istanbul, Lausanne and Paris...

 in 1954 had already proposed Cyprus be divided in two at the 35° parallel.

First signs of intercommunal violence

The first signs of intercommunal conflict on the island appeared when the British conscripted Turkish Cypriots into the police force that patrolled Cyprus. Arif Hasan Tahsin was a Turkish Cypriot who joined the Colonial police, became a member of Turkish Resistance Organization
Turkish Resistance Organization
The Turkish Resistance Organisation was a Turkish Cypriot pro-taksim paramilitary organisation formed by Rauf Denktaş and Turkish military officer Rıza Vuruşkan in 1958 as a defence organisation to counter the Greek Cypriot Fighter's Organisation EOKA....

 (TMT) and eventually rose as the number two in hierarchy of the Turkish Cypriots. Tahsin wrote: "It is a fact that the Turks fought against Greek Cypriots not just because they wanted Enosis." EOKA targeted colonial authorities, including police. Both British and Turkish police died in exchange of fire. Deaths of Turkish Cypriot policemen were met with anti-Greek riots by the Turkish Cypriot community while the British authorities remained passive. Greek Cypriot stores and neighborhoods were burned and Greek Cypriot civilians were injured or killed. Such events created chaos and drove the communities apart both in Cyprus and in Turkey.

On 22 October 1957 Sir Hugh Mackintosh Foot
Hugh Foot, Baron Caradon
Hugh Mackintosh Foot, Baron Caradon, GCMG KCVO OBE PC was a British colonial administrator and diplomat who oversaw moves to independence in various colonies and was UK representative to the United Nations....

 replaced Sir John Harding as the British Governor of Cyprus. Foot suggested five to seven years of self-government before any final decision. His plan rejected both enosis and taksim. The Turkish Cypriot response to this plan was a series of anti-British demonstrations in Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

 on 27 and 28 January 1958 rejecting the proposed plan because the plan did not include partition. The British then withdrew the plan.

In June 1958 the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 was expected to propose a plan to resolve the Cyprus issue. In light of the new development the Turks rioted in Nicosia to promote the idea that Greek and Turk Cypriots could not live together and therefore any plan that did not include partition would not be viable. This violence was soon followed by bombing, Greek Cypriots deaths and looting of Greek Cypriot-owned stores and houses. Greek and Turkish Cypriots started to flee mixed populated villages where they were a minority in search of safety. This was effectively the beginning of segregation of the two communities. On 7 June 1958 a bomb exploded at the entrance of the Turkish Embassy in Cyprus. Following the bombing Turkish Cypriots looted Greek Cypriot properties. On June 26, 1984 the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktaş
Rauf Denktas
Rauf Raif Denktaş is the founder and the first president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus , a de facto state which is only recognized by Turkey...

, admitted on British channel ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 that the bomb was placed by the Turks themselves in order to create tension. On January 9, 1995 Rauf Denktaş repeated his claim to the famous Turkish newspaper Milliyet in Turkey.

On 27 January 1958 riots by Turkish Cypriots forced the British soldiers to open fire against the Turkish crowd, and for the first time intervene against the atrocities. The events continued until the next day. During the events Arif Tahsin met Denktaş and asked: "For God sake give the order for the killings to stop". Denktaş replied: "These killings are useful, with these our voices will be heard"
By 1958 signs of dissatisfaction with the British increased on both sides, with Turkish Cypriots now forming Volkan, later known as the Turkish Resistance Organization
Turkish Resistance Organization
The Turkish Resistance Organisation was a Turkish Cypriot pro-taksim paramilitary organisation formed by Rauf Denktaş and Turkish military officer Rıza Vuruşkan in 1958 as a defence organisation to counter the Greek Cypriot Fighter's Organisation EOKA....

 (TMT) paramilitary group to promote partition and the annexation of Cyprus to Turkey as dictated by the Menteres plan.

The Republic of Cyprus

Right after the EOKA
EOKA was an anticolonial, antiimperialist nationalist organisation with the ultimate goal of "The liberation of Cyprus from the British yoke". Although not stated in its initial declaration of existence which was printed and distributed on the 1st of April 1955, EOKA also had a target of achieving...

 campaign began the British government successfully began to turn the Cyprus issue from a British colonial problem into a Greek-Turkish issue. British diplomacy exerted back-stage influence on the Adnan Menderes
Adnan Menderes
Adnan Menderes was the first democratically elected Turkish Prime Minister between 1950–1960. He was one of the founders of the Democratic Party in 1946, the fourth legal opposition party of Turkey. He was hanged by the military junta after the 1960 coup d'état, along with two other cabinet...

 government, with the aim of making Turkey active in Cyprus. For the British the attempt had a twofold objective. On one hand the EOKA campaign would be silenced as quickly as possible, on the other hand Turkish Cypriots would not side with Greek Cypriots against the British colonial claims over the island and the island would remain under the British. The Turkish Cypriot leadership at the time, visited Menderes to discuss the Cyprus issue. When asked how the Turkish Cypriots should respond to the Greek Cypriot claim of enosis Menderes replied: "You should go to the British foreign minister and request the status quo be prolonged, Cyprus to remain as a British colony.” Later when the Turkish Cypriots visited the British minister of foreign affairs and requested that Cyprus remain a colony, the Minister replied: "You should not be asking for colonialism at this day and age, you should be asking for Cyprus be returned to Turkey, its former owner".

TMT has been accused by the Republic of Cyprus of numerous acts of terrorism and the murders of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. AVRUPA, a Turkish Cypriot newspaper, reported that “Ahmet Muzuffer Gurkan was shot dead by a hit-man of the TMT organization. It says that the hit-man, H.C., (full name not given) served the TMT until 1974 as commander of a squad. It reports that H.C died in 1984 in a hospital in Famagusta from excess use of alcohol and cirrhosis. However, adds the paper, H.C during his last days in the hospital confessed the crime he had committed to a male nurse at the hospital”. At the time Rauf Denktaş
Rauf Denktas
Rauf Raif Denktaş is the founder and the first president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus , a de facto state which is only recognized by Turkey...

 had declared that Polycarpos Georgadjis
Polycarpos Georgadjis
Polycarpos Georgatzis was a Cypriot politician. He served as the first Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Cyprus. He also served as provisional minister of Labour in the period leading to Cyprus being proclaimed an independent state. Before entering the political stage he fought for EOKA...

, the then Interior Minister of the Cyprus Republic, ordered the lawyer's killing.

As Turkish Cypriots began to look to Turkey for protection, it soon became apparent to Greek Cypriots that enosis was extremely unlikely. Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios III
Makarios III
Makarios III , born Andreas Christodolou Mouskos , was the archbishop and primate of the autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church and the first President of the Republic of Cyprus ....

 now set independence for the island as his objective.

Britain resolved to solve the dispute by creating an independent Cypriot state. In 1959 all involved parties signed the Zurich agreements: Britain, Turkey, Greece, and the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, Makarios and Dr. Fazil Kucuk
Fazil Küçük
Fazıl Küçük was the first Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus.Fazıl Küçük, the son of a farmer, was born in Nicosia in 1906. After graduating from the Turkish High School in Nicosia, Küçük went on to study medicine at the Universities of Istanbul, Lausanne and Paris...

 respectively. The new constitution drew heavily on the ethnic composition of the island. The President would be a Greek Cypriot and the Vice-President a Turkish Cypriot with an equal veto. The contribution to the public service would be set at a ratio of 70:30, and the Supreme Court would consist of an equal number of judges from both communities plus an independent judge who was not Greek, Turkish or British. The Zurich accords were supplemented by a number of treaties. The Treaty of Guarantee
Treaty of Guarantee
The Treaty of Guarantee is a treaty between the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland promulgated in 1960. Article I bans Cyprus from participating in any political union or economic union with any other state. Article II requires the other...

 stated that secession or union with any state was forbidden, and that Greece, Turkey and Britain would be given guarantor status to intervene should this be violated. The Treaty of Alliance allowed for two small Greek and Turkish military contingents to be stationed on the island whilst the Treaty of Establishment gave Britain sovereignty over two bases in Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

On August 15, 1960, the Republic of Cyprus was proclaimed.

By resolution 186 of 4 March 1964, a mediator was appointed. In his report (S/6253, A/6017, 26 March 1965), the mediator, Dr Gala Plaza, criticized the 1960 legal framework, and proposed amendments that were rejected by Turkey. This rejection resulted in serious deterioration of the situation with constant threats by Turkey against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus. A series of UN resolutions called, inter alia, for respect of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus.

1963 Turkish self-segregation

Within three years tensions between the two communities in administrative affairs began to show. In particular disputes over separate municipalities and taxation created a deadlock in government. A constitutional court ruled in 1963 Makarios had failed to uphold article 173 of the constitution which called for the establishment of separate municipalities for Turkish Cypriots. Makarios subsequently declared his intention to ignore the judgement, resulting in the West German judge resigning from his position. Makarios proposed thirteen amendments to the constitution, which according to the historian Keith Kyle had the effect of resolving most of the issues in the Greek Cypriot favour. Under the proposals, the President and Vice President would lose their veto, the separate municipalities as sought after by the Turkish Cypriots would be abandoned, the need for separate majorities by both communities in passing legislation would be discarded and the civil service contribution would be set at actual population ratios (82:18) instead of the slightly higher figure for Turkish Cypriots.

The intention behind the amendments has long been called into question. The Akritas plan
Akritas plan
The Akritas plan was created in 1963 by the Greek Cypriot part of the government in Cyprus with the ultimate aim of weakening the Turkish Cypriot wing of the Cypriot government and then uniting Cyprus with Greece. The desired union of Cyprus with Greece was referred to as Enosis.-Background to the...

, written in the height of the constitutional dispute by the Greek Cypriot interior minister Policarpos Yorgadjis, called for the removal of undesirable elements of the constitution so as to allow power-sharing to work. The plan stipulated an organised attack on Turkish Cypriots should they show signs of resistance to the measures, stating “In the event of a planned or staged Turkish attack, it is imperative to overcome it by force in the shortest possible time, because if we succeed in gaining command of the situation (in one or two days), no outside, intervention would be either justified or possible.” Whether Makarios's proposals were part of the Akritas plan is unclear, however it remains that sentiment towards enosis had not completely disappeared with independence. Makarios described independence as "a step on the road to enosis". Preparations for conflict were not entirely absent from Turkish Cypriots either, with right wing elements still believing taksim (partition) the best safeguard against enosis.

Evidently, the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1965, U Thant
U Thant
U Thant was a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. He was chosen for the post when his predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in September 1961....

, while experiencing the situation on the island first hand, described the policy of the Turkish Cypriot leaders in this way:
The Turkish Cypriot leaders have adhered to a rigid stand against any measures which might involve having members of the two communities live and work together, or which might place Turkish Cypriots in situations where they would have to acknowledge the authority of Government agents. Indeed, since the Turkish Cypriot leadership is committed to physical and geographical separation of the communities as a political goal, it is not likely to encourage activities by Turkish Cypriots which may be interpreted as demonstrating the merits of an alternative policy. The result has been a seemingly deliberate policy of self-segregation by the Turkish Cypriots.

Greek Cypriots however believe the amendments were a necessity stemming from a perceived attempt by Turkish Cypriots to frustrate the working of government. Turkish Cypriots saw it as a means to reduce their status within the state from one of co-founder to that of minority, seeing it as a first step towards enosis. The security situation deteriorated rapidly.

Intercommunal violence continued

The launch also, armed conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots on December 20, 1963, Friday, triggered by a random incident in the infamous neighborhood of Nicosia (the neighborhood that was at the "interface" between the Greek and Turkish district of the capital) a police patrol who were Greeks, sought to control a group of Turkish paramilitary citizens who were moving suspiciously (the Turks were armed and resisted) the first dropped shots of whom suffered fatally a Turkish prostitute. It was the spark that caused the inflammation.
On 21 December 1963, without any provacation,Turkish Cypriots terrorists of TMT well armed clashed with the plainclothes special constables of Greek patriot Yorgadjis. It was obvious that TMT illegally armed were trying once more to make trouble so Greek Cypriots with homemade arms, paramilitaries of Greek patriot Grivas launched an attack for discovering illegal weapons upon Turkish Cypriots in Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

 and Larnaca
Larnaca, is the third largest city on the southern coast of Cyprus after Nicosia and Limassol. It has a population of 72,000 and is the island's second largest commercial port and an important tourist resort...


Immediately after this, the "army" of Turkish Cypriots (who had secretly organized and was trained by Turkish officers were sent secretly to Cyprus), took up battle positions in areas which were the limits of the Turkish quarter of Nicosia and started action. The same happened immediately and in other cities, except Kyrenia, while Turkish Cypriots proclaimed the rebellion and in large villages where were majority or in areas where there were groups of purely Turkish Cypriot villages. Also, men's TOUR.DY.K. they moved out of their camp and took up battle positions along the Nicosia-Kyrenia road, which were cut off. Cut off was also the Nicosia - Limassol residents of the Turkish Cypriot village Kofinou.
Turkey had ordered the implementation of a well-organized plan that will lead to the dissolution of the Republic ...
For the Greek Cypriots were not unknown secret preparations and arcane intentions of the Turks. Not only did not trust the official pronouncements of the Turkey, but had enough evidence on the real aspirations of Turkey (the arrest of the boat "Denise" for example, and other information on the equipment of the Turkish Cypriots were included among these proofs). So despite the Turkish expectations, Greek Cypriots are not taken by surprise in December 1963, the mutiny of the Turkish Cypriots were not found totally unprepared and even took them by surprise. In 1963 they began to prepare to meet the Turkish Cypriot attack. They had organized teams of volunteers in educating military nights under the guidance of former rebel EOKA and Cyprus army officers and a few Greek Cypriots who were officers of the Greek army. The weapons they made were insufficient, minimum quantities of arms were imported, of which most were obsolete, except all available hunting rifles.
Thus, when the Turkish Cypriot mutiny occurred, widespread and even on the Christmas of 1963, the Turks saw a surprise to them in the resistance of another "army" of volunteers that included many people from 16 and 17 years up to 70! At Christmas 1963 the Greek Cypriots celebrated the battle with enthusiasm to stop the Turkish attack. And they did stop it. It was over the time during which the Turkish were butchering, beating, burning, pillaging and murdering under the protection of the British army. British soldiers were not there now to keep the Greeks of the island with their hands up. There was any more the colonial military law enforcement for any Greek Cypriot found to be armed, or internment in a concentration camp of anyone holding even a piece of wood or stone.
So, very soon the Turkish mutiny began to curl. The Turkish Cypriots began to show signs of panic. The Turkey, in order to encourage them, sent war planes to fly over Cyprus on December 26. These aircraft, although we can assume that collected information of military nature, did not hit any places on the island. At night, however, the same day (26 December) the military attaché of the British in Cyprus rose visibly upset at the presidential palace (former governor) and dramatically announced to Makarios that: Turkish invasion is imminent!
Immediately after the start of the riots, Makarios requested a meeting with Vice Kucuk. Discussed with him ways for peace instead of conflict, even suggesting him to visit both the Greek and the Turkish district of the capital and talk to the people. Kucuk said to Makarios that was not considered wise to go to the Turkish quarter. Officials also of the state, who knew the situation in detail, as the Minister of Home Georkatzis Polycarpos, the police chief of Nicosia Michalakis Pantelides and others have stated categorically that he would not leave the archbishop to enter the Turkish quarter where it was more than likely that he was going to be killed.
Though the terrorist TMT - having taken charge of the fighting on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots - committed a number of acts of murdering, Kyle notes “there is no doubt that the main victims of the numerous incidents that took place during the next few months were Turks”. 103 Turkish Cypriots villages were attacked. 700 Turkish Cypriot hostages, including women and children, were taken from the northern suburbs of Nicosia (into Greek-Cypriot houses, at Omorphita north suburb, which in turn became refugees in their own country). However U Thant (UN) secretary general justifies in his annual report of 1964, the right of the unarmed majority of the Greeks to defend their homes from the well armed TMT and the hideous British-Turkish diplomacy that incited the Turks to revolt and impose a form of apartheid on the island. Nikos Sampson
Nikos Sampson
Nikos Sampson was the de facto president of Cyprus who succeeded Archbishop Makarios, President of Cyprus, in 1974. Sampson was a journalist and a member of EOKA, which rose against the British colonial administration, seeking Enosis of the island of Cyprus with Greece...

 driving a digging vehicle himself, led a group of Greek Cypriot irregulars (because the Greek Cypriots had no arms and army)into the mixed suburb of Omorphita after the Greek Cypriot neighbourhood of the suburb was attacked by the Turkish Cypriot militia. Greek historian Ronaldos Katsaunis stated that he was an eye witness to the retaliation murder and communal burial of 32 Turkish Cypriot civilians in the year 1963 in Magosa (No place in Cyprus has this name!). Contemporaneous newspapers also reported about the forceful exodus of the Turkish Cypriots from their homes. Nevertheless when the Turkish colonel Nihat Ilhan killed his own wife and three children Turkish journalist Ahmet Baran confessed in a live program in 1985 (of historian Costas Yenaris) that he himself photographed them in a bathroom in order to blame the Greeks. According to the Times journal issued in the year 1964, threats, shootings and attempts of arson are committed against the Turkish Cypriots to force them out of their homes. Daily Express wrote that "25,000 Turks have already been forced to leave their homes" The Guardian reported a massacre of Turks at Limassol on 16 February 1964.

The truth however is that the terrorist TMT were threatening the Turks to move to confined areas controlled by them and so to force them to live away from the influence of their Greek friends, neighbours and relatives. The disobeying Turks were killed and the Greeks were to blamed.

Pierre Oberling noted that according to official sources, the 1963-64 crisis resulted in the death of 364 Turkish Cypriots and 174 Greek Cypriots.

Turkey had by now readied its fleet and its fighter jets became visible over Nicosia. Turkey was dissuaded from direct involvement by the creation of a United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus was established in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and a return to normal conditions...

 (UNFICYP) in 1964. Despite the negotiated ceasefire in Nicosia, attacks on the Turkish Cypriot persisted, particularly in Limmasol. Concerned about the possibility of a Turkish invasion, Makarios undertook the creation of a Greek Cypriot conscript-based army called the “National Guard”. A general from Greece took charge of the army, whilst a further 20,000 well-equipped officers and men were smuggled from Greece into Cyprus. Turkey threatened to intervene once more, but was prevented by a strongly worded letter from the American President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

, anxious to avoid a conflict between NATO allies Greece and Turkey at the height of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...


Turkish Cypriots had by now established an important bridgehead at Kokkina, providing them with arms, volunteers and materials from Turkey and abroad. Seeing this incursion of foreign weapons and troops as a major threat, the Cypriot government invited George Grivas to return from Greece as commander of the Greek troops on the island and launch a major attack on the bridgehead. Turkey retaliated by dispatching its fighter jets to bomb Greek positions, causing Makarios to threaten an attack on every Turkish Cypriot village on the island if the bombings did not cease. The conflict had now drawn in Greece and Turkey, with both countries amassing troops on their Thracian borders. Efforts at mediation by Dean Acheson
Dean Acheson
Dean Gooderham Acheson was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War...

, a former U.S. Secretary of State, and UN-appointed mediator Galo Plaza
Galo Plaza
Galo Plaza Lasso was an Ecuadorian politician and statesman who served as the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the U.S, President of Ecuador from 1948 to 1952, and Secretary General of the Organization of American States from 1968 to 1975...

 had failed, all the while the division of the two communities becoming more apparent. Greek Cypriot forces were estimated at some 30,000, including the National Guard and the large contingent from Greece. Defending the Turkish Cypriot enclaves was a force of approximately 5,000 irregulars, led by a Turkish colonel, but lacking the equipment and organization of the Greek forces.

The situation worsened in 1967, when a military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

 overthrew the democratically-elected government of Greece, and began applying pressure on Makarios to achieve enosis. Makarios, not wishing to become part of a military dictatorship or trigger a Turkish invasion, began to distance himself from the goal of enosis. This caused tensions with the junta in Greece as well as George Grivas in Cyprus. Grivas's control over the National Guard and Greek contingent was seen as a threat to Makarios's position, who now feared a possible coup. Grivas escalated the conflict when his armed units began patrolling the Turkish Cypriot enclaves of Ayios Theodhoros and Kophinou, and on November 15 engaged in heavy fighting with the Turkish Cypriots.

By the time of his withdrawal 26 Turkish Cypriots had been killed. Turkey replied with an ultimatum demanding that Grivas be removed from the island, that the troops smuggled from Greece in excess of the limits of the Treaty of Alliance be removed, and that the economic blockades on the Turkish Cypriot enclaves be lifted. Grivas resigned his position and 12,000 Greek troops were withdrawn. Makarios now attempted to consolidate his position by reducing the number of National Guard troops, and by creating a paramilitary force loyal to Cypriot independence. In 1968, acknowledging that enosis was now all but impossible, Makarios stated "A solution by necessity must be sought within the limits of what is feasible which does not always coincide with the limits of what is desirable."

Greek coup

After 1967 tensions between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots subsided. Instead, the main source of tension on the island came from factions within the Greek Cypriot community. Although Makarios had effectively abandoned enosis in favour of an ‘attainable solution’, many others continued to believe that the only legitimate political aspirations for Greek Cypriots was union with Greece. Makarios was branded a traitor to the cause by Grivas and in 1971 made a clandestine return to the island.

On his arrival, Grivas began by establishing a nationalist paramilitary group known as the National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agonistan B or EOKA-B), drawing comparisons with the EOKA struggle for enosis under the British colonial administration of the 1950s.

The military junta in Athens saw Makarios as an obstacle, and directed funds to Grivas to carry out a number of terrorist attacks and to fund a propaganda campaign through the creation of pro-enosis newspapers. Makarios's failure to disband the National Guard, whose officer class was dominated by mainland Greeks, had meant the junta had practical control over the Cypriot military establishment, leaving Makarios isolated and a vulnerable target.

See also

  • Cyprus dispute
    Cyprus dispute
    The Cyprus dispute is the result of the ongoing conflict between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, over the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus....

  • Modern history of Cyprus
    Modern history of Cyprus
    This article covers the modern history of Cyprus, from 1878 to the present.-Cyprus as a Protectorate:In 1878 as a result of the Cyprus Convention, the United Kingdom received as a protectorate, the island of Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire in exchange for United Kingdoms military support to the...

  • EOKA
    EOKA was an anticolonial, antiimperialist nationalist organisation with the ultimate goal of "The liberation of Cyprus from the British yoke". Although not stated in its initial declaration of existence which was printed and distributed on the 1st of April 1955, EOKA also had a target of achieving...

  • Turkish Resistance Organisation

External links

  • An independent and comprehensive website dedicated to the Cyprus conflict, containing a detailed narrative as well as documents, reports and eye-witness accounts.
  • Library of Congress Cyprus Country Study Detailed information on Cyprus, covering the various phases of the Cyprus conflict.
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