Tuesday, 15 July 2008

The coup against Makarios



In the above clip from Michalis Cacoyiannis' definitive film Attila '74: The Rape of Cyprus (see right, in menu bar, to watch film in its entirety), the events leading up to the Greek junta's coup against President Makarios on 15 July, 1974 are described, particularly the letter Makarios sent to the Athens government complaining about the activities on the island of the National Guard, led by Greek officers loyal to the junta, and the gangster EOKA B outfit – established by Grivas in 1971, at the instigation and with the support of the junta and the CIA – whose raison d'être was the overthrow of the democratically elected Cypriot government.

The junta's response to Makarios' letter of 2 July was the coup. The coup's main objective was the murder of Makarios and the installation of a regime that would implement the long-established US-inspired Acheson plan to partition Cyprus between Greece and Turkey, who would then turn the island into an anti-communist NATO protectorate.

Of course, what happened was that Makarios survived the coup, Greek Cypriots resisted the junta and the Americans double-crossed their lackeys in Athens, having reassured them initially that any coup against Makarios would not be countered by an invasion from the Turks – who, the junta was led to believe by the Americans, understood that the coup was an internal Greek matter and were content that the junta would soon satisfy their demands for some form of partition of Cyprus, with maybe Kastelorizo thrown in for good measure.

The junta, having failed to deliver its end of the bargain to the Americans – i.e. Makarios' head and a Cypriot puppet leader with some legitimacy on the island and internationally (someone like Glafkos Clerides and not the man the junta eventually plumped for, the notorious EOKA B gangster Nikos Sampson, who the Americans, nevertheless, began the process of recognising as Cyprus' legitimate head of state) – quickly found itself abandoned by its Washington sponsors, who turned to backing the Turkish horse; the Turks having found themselves quite unexpectedly in a position to impose partition on Cyprus on their own terms.

2 comments:

Hermes said...

Makarios, one of the few admirable Greek leaders since Venizelos. In fact, one of the few good European leaders along with De Gaulle and Putin in the last 60 years. He had his faults but he was a very shrewd man.

john akritas said...

Yes; Makarios was a great national leader, who in his devotion to Greece embarrasses the other supine Greek political leaders from the 1950s onwards. It is true that he did make mistakes, his main one being that he believed that no Greek government – even an illegitimate one, like the junta – would be so treacherous and stupid to attempt a coup against him without properly calculating what the Turkish response would be. He overestimated the junta's patriotism and underestimated its idiocy.