An old letter from TMT

An old letter from TMT

In the 1966 secret talks between Turkey and Greece - that eventually led to the formal Keşan/Dedeağaç summit in 1967 - not only strained relations between Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios and the Athens government but also caused some tensions between the Turkish National Resistance Movement (TMT) led by the late founding president of North Cyprus, Rauf Denktaş, and Ankara. The arrangement by the government of the then president of Turkey, Süleyman Demirel, for the return of the young Turkish Cypriot people to Turkish universities - a move that created a serious deficiency in TMT’s fighting power - along with the recall of colonel Kemal Coşkun, who organized the TMT, were some of the incidents perceived as an “abandonment” by hawks in TMT, who were led by Denktaş, against the then Turkish Cypriot leader, Dr. Fazil Küçük.

I came across a summary of a letter the TMT of Denktaş sent Turkey at the time -- a development that contradicted with “never confront Turkey” principle of Denktaş after 1974, a principle under which he left active politics in 2005.

The seven-page letter was an exceptional document that illustrates the resolve of the Turkish Cypriots not to accept minority status even if abandoned by Turkey. It stressed that “As members of the Turkish Cypriot community acting in full awareness of our responsibilities and full devotion to our cause,” they would not accept some palliative and transitional measures as might be necessitated by the Turkish-Greek talks. Stressing that the Turkish Cypriot’s resolve to continue their struggle until full success or death was as solid as ever, it noted that “Rather than living with Greeks in an atmosphere of shame and disgust, we are ready to die a hundred times, a thousand times,” while underlining that all the resistance fighters would remain loyal to their oath and ready to die in honor rather than to accept to become second-class citizens.

According to that letter, the position of the TMT was outlined as “On the island of Cyprus, a form of state that is not based on the physical separation of Greeks and Turks will be a definite defeat for the Turkish Cypriots.” The letter might be summarized in 10 points:

1- The Turkish Community has lost nothing of its resistance power. We are determined to fight to the end to achieve firm political purposes to protect our national, political and all other rights on the island of Cyprus.

2- It is absolutely wrong if the underlying thought of accepting some temporary forms of action in the Cyprus case is the perception that the resistance power of the Turkish community has diminished and that it should prepare for a new struggle.

3- The Turkish community and its mujahideen have proved to the world that they can endure all kinds of sacrifices to prevent ENOSIS (union of Cyprus with Greece). The purpose of this struggle is well known. Therefore, the acceptance of temporary forms of action will only result in the collapse of the political purpose, despite the sacrifices made.

4- The Greeks will not give the Turks the right to life from the moment the temporary measures are put into effect. The best guarantee for the Turkish community is the actual guarantee. Other agreements will do nothing but meltdown the Turks on the island.

5- After all these murders and degrading behaviors towards them by the Greek community, it is impossible to expect the Turkish community to live together temporarily under a Greek administration. The basis of this struggle, which is going on and on for historical reasons, is based on our national interests. This is not a simple conflict of a Turk with a Greek, but a national concern in which the interests and honor of our beloved nation are at stake. We have waited patiently and waiting for the days when the government of the motherland will actually take part next to the Turkish community.

6- With each passing day, the Greek community is coming a little bit closer to its political purposes (of achieving ENOSIS), and the actual situation is manifested against the Turkish community.

7- The real purpose of the Greeks is to annex Cyprus to Greece in its entirety. The Greeks may be willing to make some worthless compromises on paper for a temporary period, perhaps considering the sacrifice required by risking the war. But their real goal is to erase the Turks from the island. In this respect, a temporary resolution should not be applied.

8- The struggle has reached that stage, as a community and as a nation. Whatever we’re going to win, it’s going to be won at this stage. It is impossible to open a third period of struggle for the Turkish community, which has given everything. Greece knowingly negotiated this.

9- After the right purposes of the Greeks are clearly understood in the bilateral negotiations and this is explained to people of the world, it is our opinion that it will be time for the provisions of the Guarantee Agreement to be implemented by the motherland government.

10- We believe in keeping the Turkish community alive in a free and dignified society, otherwise, we are determined to fight to the death until there is not a single one of us left.