Conceding the truth a must for deal in Cyprus
A settlement in Cyprus is almost impossible unless the two sides on the island manage to confess the crimes they committed and apologize to each other. How can the two people of the island establish peace and start building a common future of confidence in each other while they have totally conflicting approaches as to how the Cyprus problem started?
Years ago, the late Osman Örek, the defense minister of the short-lived partnership government established after the 1960 declaration of the independence of Cyprus from Britain, told this writer in all clarity how he was sent off from the stairs of the legislature at gun point by the then house speaker Glafkos Clerides. Turkish Cypriot ministers and deputies were asked to accept unilateral amendments made in the constitution by an all-Greek legislature in total violation of the founding treaties and the constitution or otherwise they had no place in governance. All Turkish Cypriot civil servants were sent back on the grounds that their security could not be provided.
With attacks on Turkish Cypriot settlements, 103 Turkish villages pillaged by the EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston or the National Organization of Cypriot Fighters), vandals and villagers forced to seek refuge in Turkish dominated areas and civil servants and political representatives denied their right to assume their duties, Turkish Cypriots were left without a government, out in the cold. The situation continued until 1974 for 11 years. Now, if Greek Cypriots still claim today that Turkish Cypriots withdrew from the partnership government and government offices in order to divide the island, could it be possible to forge a new partnership of any sort with them?
Many Greek Cypriot and Greek friends reacted to an article I wrote about the remarks of Archbishop Chrysostomos who said that Turks withdrew from the government and they were not attacked by Greek Cypriots. Greek Cypriot and Greek friends claimed in their reaction that he no longer represented reason, logic or common sense. If so, how someone of such caliber could continue to shape politics ought to be a question the Greek Cypriot leadership should answer. Unfortunately, the Archbishop is not the only one engaged in total denial regarding the crimes Greek Cypriots unleashed on Turkish Cypriots from 1963 to 1974. Even if for one second the argument that “times have changed” might be accepted, what about the impunity provided for all those nationalist hordes attacking Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriot consecutive governments all along. Just show me one Greek Cypriot punished because of a crime he committed on the Turkish Cypriots?
Turkish Cypriot Resistance Day
Semantics and symbolism have always been important for eastern societies and Turkish Cypriots are no exception to that. For example, Aug. 1 is marked as the Turkish Cypriot Resistance Day with an obvious reference to the officially accepted date of the founding of the Turkish Resistance Movement (TMT).
However, the exact date of the establishment of the organization that aimed at organizing Turkish Cypriots defend themselves against genocidal attacks by the Greek Cypriot hordes of the EOKA, varies across several sources. Some claim that the TMT was established on Nov. 15 or 23, 1957, while the organization’s founding father Rauf Denktaş, was often quoted to have said he and Ziya Vuruşkan established it on Nov. 27 1957. There are unverified claims as well that the TMT was established as early as 1950 in the Ankara headquarters of the Turkish Special Forces Command. The day also marks the 446th anniversary of the conquest of the island by the Ottomans and the 41st anniversary of the Aug. 1, 1976 transformation of the TMT into a full-fledged Security Forces Command of the Turkish Cypriot state.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı did not issue a commemorative statement, while his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nikos Anastasiades has most often played the role of chief actor at every ceremony, small or big, commemorating the killed EOKA terrorists. Even this has been a reminder why we cannot have a Cyprus settlement.
With a Greek Cypriot leader, archbishop and political spectrum systematically and intentionally refusing to acknowledge the crimes committed by their state and people on Turkish Cypriots and a population happy with impunity for the crimes against Turkish Cypriots, how are we going to have a reunited Cyprus?
All through the past year, the “UniteCyprusNow” movement and such groups have had demonstrations in northern Cyprus. These groups are all supported by Greek Cypriots, British, Americans and the European Union. Could anyone explain why for God’s sake not even one such demonstration was staged in the southern Greek Cypriot areas? Is everyone sure that if there will be a miraculous deal Greek Cypriots will all say “yes?”