Monday, 19 July 2010

Why did Greece want to overthrow Makarios?

I was reading a very interesting article on the infognomonpolitics blog, written by Marios Evriviades and which originally appeared in the Cypriot daily, Phileleftheros.

Evriviades argues that the 15 July 1974 coup against Makarios was not necessarily a hastily concocted putsch by the junta, but the culmination of 10-years of Greek state policy.

Greece, during this period, Evriviades says, was determined to come to an agreement with Turkey on the partition of Cyprus and was prepared to contemplate the forced removal of Cyprus’ president, Makarios, and the dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus, in order to accelerate its aims.

I’ve translated below the first part of Evriviades’ article, which suggests that even if the goal of removing Makarios remained the same, the reasons for Athens wanting it done in 1964, under the premiership of Giorgos Papandreou, were different to those that motivated Dimitris Ioannides, the head of the junta, in 1974.

Just to add that the more I find out about Greece’s official policy towards Cyprus in the years leading up the coup and Turkish invasion, the more I am struck by the breathtaking incompetence and stupidity of Greece's policy makers, and this applies to those associated with the junta and those who ran Greece before the colonels seized power. In fact, one of the reasons the story of Greece’s betrayal of Cyprus remains of interest, is because this same incompetence and stupidity continued in Greece after 1974 and is responsible for the sweeping crisis affecting the country right now.

I’ll try and post further translation of Evriviades’ piece later this week.

Plans for betrayal from 1964
The betrayal of 15 July 1974 was the culmination of 10-years of scheming by Greece. However, the reasons for the scheming during this period change. In 1964, when the scheming starts, the aim and target of the coupists was the overthrow of the Makarios government and the dissolution of the Cypriot state, with the rationale of preventing Cyprus from becoming another Cuba, of becoming communist. In 1974, the aim of the coupists was more simple. It was the survival of the regime in Athens. Junta leader Dimitris Ioannides and the rest of his gang organised the coup in order to buy time from their transatlantic patrons and to appease the Turks and prime minister Bulent Ecevit, who were threatening Greece in the Aegean.

By overthrowing Makarios – the ‘devil-priest’, the red-priest, the anti-Greek – the junta believed it was providing a service to Washington and Ankara, who would be duly grateful. Ioannides believed the Americans would press Turkey to react to the coup with moderation since it was Athens intention, with Makarios out of the way, to sit down with the Turks and ‘close the Cyprus problem, which Greece and Turkey had been discussing intermittently from 1964, on the basis of the US-inspired Acheson plan, which envisaged partition of the island.

A second motive the Ioannides’ junta had for wanting to be rid of Makarios was that in doing so it would end the threat posed to the Athens regime by the democracy that existed in Cyprus. In the paranoid world of the Athens junta, Cyprus was a haven for dissidents conspiring against the regime ruling Greece; dissidents,
particularly those made up of former officers from the Greek armed forces, who, the junta believed, were being aided and abetted by Makarios.

For more of this article, go here.


lastgreek said...

Giorgos Papandreaou?

If he were so compliant to America's aims, then why the verbal slap down by LBJ?

Moreover, why did he even bother sending a Greek army division to the island? It was those Greek soldiers that kept the Turkish army at bay . . . until the Greek-speaking American sycophants had them removed.

lastgreek said...

Correction: "Papandreou," not "Papandreaou."

lastgreek said...

Evriviades argues that the 15 July 1974 coup against Makarios was not necessarily a hastily concocted putsch by the junta, but the culmination of 10-years of Greek state policy.-

Should not the phrase in bold have read "American state policy"?

We have bountiful historical evidence--pick a decade, any decade--that America does not take too kindly to governments that put the interests of their own citizens ahead of American corporate interests. In Cyprus's case, it was America wanting to keep Turkey happy (its "new cop on the block") . . . and not wanting Cyprus's non-aligned foreign policy to be an example for other aspiring democracies. God forbid! We can't have functioning democracies running amok, can we?

I am not trying to be sarcastic here, but I would strongly recommend that Mr. Marios Evriviades take the time to read Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. This should give him a thorough grounding of Pax Americana over the last 60 years. I am not quibbling over what he said about the Greek-speaking American agents who ran the junta. Not really much there. But the "Greek state policy" bit was, sorry to say . . . daft.

And one more thing . . .

The Republic of Cyprus is--and ever was!--the ONLY democracy in the Middle East.

lastgreek said...

As far as the colonels in Greece ,at the time, it is very easy to heap opprobrium on them . . . -

Of course it's easy . . . they were buffoons (and i am being polite here).

. . . and in the end the turk will gain what it wants, because the turk is willing to fight and the Greek is not.-

Hold on to your knickers here, Spiridula. How did you come to the conclusion that the Turk is willing to fight? They just purchased a new fleet of pilotless aircraft (drones) from the shitty Zionist state. The price tag was well over $125,000,000! Why the purchase? Because things are not going so well for the Turkish army in southeastern Turkey; their casualties are mounting; the Kurds, ill-equiped and outnumberd, are putting up a fight . . . hence the high-tech purchase. Turkish officers are already in Israel learning how to operate these unmanned planes.

Makarios had his personal agenda . . . -

He did the best that anyone in his situation could have done. He was an honourable man who put the interests of the people of Cyprus first. And, unlike the Greek-speaking buffoons, he was not on anyone's payroll.

lastgreek said...

Where can I buy an authentic Cyprus football jersey?

John Akritas said...

Regarding Giorgos Papandreou, it's always been unclear to me the extent to which the man – who was in his dotage at this time – fully believed in Makarios' policy of independence and then enosis when the time was right, or was prepared to go along with US plans for partition. The suggestion is that in 1964 he was keen on a form of double enosis – particularly those Acheson plans that did not envisage handing over Kastelorizo to the Turks – but that under the influence of his son, Andreas (and Makarios) he ultimately rejected these.

I agree with anonymous that it is wrong, regarding Cyprus, to make the junta the scapegoat for everything. It is clear that the failure in Cyprus was systemic and the junta was merely carrying out a Cyprus policy that was, by and large, the continuation of policies established by previous governments.

But, for me, another question is this: how is it possible for a society to produce men like Papadopoulos and Ioannides – morons and psychopaths – and allow them elevation to high positions of power. And I don't buy the argument that they were simply American stooges. They were American stooges, but they were also a reflection of the Greek society they came from. Besides which, Ioannides could have declined US invitations to topple Makarios. Others in the junta thought it was a bad idea, but he insisted. Was it that he was a bigger American stooge than the others?

lastgreek said...

J, you have by far one of the best English blogs on matters affecting Greece and Cyprus. I've often wondered why you haven't turned your blog into a full-fledged English-Greek portal on all matters Greek: social, political, sports, travel, etc.

I look forward to reading the next extract by Evriviades and commenting on some of your points later on today if possible. I just booked my flight to Greece, and now I need to make the itinerary, via email, with the Greek travel agency in Athens. Family and I will be spending about a month there: 2 to 3 nights in Athens, about a week on the island of Sifnos, and the rest in the southern Peloponnese (home base). Who knows, if I feel adventurous, I might even go to Constantinople for a day to see Agia Sophia.

Very quickly because you know I simply can't resist. You said that you agreed with "anonymous" about blaming everything on the junta. I am curious ... how do you ever manage to "separate the chaf from the wheat" in "anonymous's" posts? It's virtually an impossible task if you ask me. ;-)

John Akritas said...

Well, thanks LG, for the good words about the blog and your continuing interest and involvement in it. I'm afraid I don't know what a portal is, but I'll look into it. Have a good trip to Greece. Sifnos is one of my favourite islands – very, very pretty, good people, excellent food. I am a big fan of the Peloponnese too – the first Greeks to settle in Cyprus 3,500 years ago were from Arkadia, so I consider myself a Peloponnesian too. The Peloponnese has everything – classical sites, Byzantine sites, mountains, sea. It is the heart of Greece.

Anonymous has his good days and his bad days, like we all do.

Hermes said...

LG, I agree with John and Anonymous that we can not lay all the blame on the Junta or the Americans (the Americans do whatever a hegemon will do). John asks a very good question, what sort of society and political system produces such an incoherent and short sighted foreign policy, and such clowns who create and implement it??? What sort of society that makes such disasterous past mistakes has, if anything, gotten worse over the last 30 years??? This is a question that needs serious study.

John, I watched all of Spirtokouto last night. Of course, not all of Greece is like this (a part of me is); however, as I watched it I thought to myself, perhaps Anglo-Saxon oppression, has from one perspective, done us good. We have generally become calmer, more docile. Which is not a bad thing if one of planning a long term project such as operating a business or formulating a foreign policy. Maybe many of our mistakes come down to this explosive temperament which is not conducive to cooperation and foresight.

LG, the southern Peloponesse is great. I was in Arhangelos, Elafonissi, Gytheio, Meso and Exo Mani last year.

Hermes said...

By the way, Ardin has what promises to be an interesting segment on Cyprus. It includes the very intelligent Vassilis Filias.

I like the sentiments, "Greece-Cyrpus, one people, common struggle".

lastgreek said...

If one were to google the phrase "Acheson Plan," the first result he/she would see on the list is ...

... ahead of even the wikipedia link. Mighty impressive considering there are about 1,350,000 results!

And why not? It's an excellent post. The commentary that follows is also great.

John Akritas said...

I've often wondered about the explosive Greek temperament, H, and its benefits; and whether the Greeks have always been like this – were like this during Byzantine times; under the Ottomans; post-1821, post-1922, post-1974? I wouldn't like us to be emotionally retarded like the Anglo-Saxons; but a little more restraint in certain circumstances – particularly matters of state – might be a good idea.

Spirtokouto is very good, shows how Greece has descended into a society of hatred, resentment, suspicion, self-loathing, failure and all the rest. It's also very funny. Economidis has a new film out soon, which looks interesting:

LG: I do get a lot of traffic looking for details about the Acheson plan; but the most popular searches are for posts I wrote early on, about makaronia tou fourno and kolokassi.

lastgreek said...

I like the sentiments, "Greece-Cyrpus, one people, common struggle".-

A historically accurate statement.

Now here's the problem. America ("the hegemon") doesn't give a toss. All she cares about is controlling the world's natural resources, more specifically, the oil in the Middle East. And if I may use mafia terminology, America is the boss, the big capo. Turkey is a lieutenant (Israel having underboss status, obviously). Both the underboss and the lieutenant work for the boss. (By "work," I mean they help the boss control the region's oil resources.) Where does Greece fit in? It doesn't--it is not presently part of the "mafia family." (Btw, I said "presently" because under the junta Greece had foot soldier status; in other words, saps. I prefer the more apt Greek word χαμάλια.)

Where am I going with this? Well, the boss takes care of his clan. When Turkey invaded Cyprus--twice!!--in 1974 why did America ban U.N. intervention in Cyprus? Why did America force the U.N. to revise--numerous times--the original Annan Plan in order to meet all of Turkey's demands? (Demands, btw, that had no legal standing!). I could go on and on about why I blame the Americans.

As for the junta's share of the blame . . . they were paid CIA agents. What more is there to say? Seriously.

John Akritas said...

LG: I don't disagree with you about the malign influence of America in Cyprus and Greece – and many other places, in fact; but the junta weren't just paid CIA agents. They were part of a corrupt state that Greeks had put together over years, which is in fact Evriviades' point and why Cyprus tells us so much about Greece – because the junta's treacherous Cyprus policy was a continuation of a policy formulated and followed by the entire Greek political class, from 1955 onwards.

Here's another way of looking at it, and which takes me back to university days and Marxist theories of the state. The Marxist political theorist Nikos Poulantzas, taking a lead from Gramsci, had this idea that 'relative autonomy' described the relationship between the capitalist state and the capitalist economy, or that the ruling political class, in serving capitalism, had a certain amount of room for manoeuvre and even its own imperatives.

And 'relative autonomy', I reckon, is a good way of describing the relationship between the junta and the Americans, and not just the junta and the Americans, but also the 'democratic' rulers of Greece pre-junta, who were just as enthral to the Americans.

lastgreek said...

Funny ... all this talk about the junta has made me recall the name "Tom Pappas."

Name ring a bell?

I wonder if the guy is still alive.

Hermes said...

Poulantzas! Where are those thinkers today?? Outside of the Marxist tradition I recommend everyone reads the mostly non-Marxist mostly Italian theorists such as Pareto, Michels, Mosca, Sorel and Gramsci to understand the role of the elites, state and power. Burnham wrote a very good introduction called the New Machiavellians. And of course, one must read Schmitt.

lastgreek said...

I would strongly recommend George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia. It's a non-fiction account about his personal experiences as a member of POUM--a fiercely anti-Stalinist, anti-totalitarian party--during the Spanish Civil War. A fascinating read ... and quite telling of how the Stalinists and the fascists both tried to destroy POUM and social anarchism. It is indeed Orwell's best book. The book is open domain if I am not mistaken, and thus availabe for reading free online.

PS: 4 days, 3 nights for hotel accommodations in Sifnos is going to cost us approx. $2100--not including meal, car rental, and other misc. expenses. I am kinda having 2nd thoughts. Considering we're staying a month in Greece, I think we'd get a bigger bang for our buck, if we simply traveled around the southern Peloponnese.

John Akritas said...

$2100 does sound very steep. Since when did Sifnos become the south of France? Whatever happened to £25 a night? And don't forget to be nice to any Israeli tourists you come across, since Greece and Israel are now best friends, as I'm sure you've been reading in the Greek press.

lastgreek said...

$2100 does sound very steep.-

For 3-star hotels and higher, cost is usually determined per person and not per room. I am still working on finding affordable accommodations. I contacted a few more agents, lowered the hotel cat. to a 2-star ... even started contacting some hotels on the island directly. I am learning as I go. Unfortunately, I am running out of time. :-(

Since when did Sifnos become the south of France?-

Yeah ... looks like the French and Germans got wind of it. Brits should be joining them soon, too. Can't blame them, though--Blue Flag beaches, breathtaking scenery, 5 hours ferryboat ride from the mainland ....

To keep my post on topic, which was the first Greek government to heavily emphasize tourism? (Yes, it's relevant to the discussion.)

lastgreek said...

JA: But for me, another question is this: how is it possible for a society to produce men like Papadopoulos and Ioannides – morons and psychopaths – and allow them elevation to high positions of power.

Hermes:John asks a very good question, what sort of society and political system produces such an incoherent and short sighted foreign policy, and such clowns who create and implement it???

I was waiting for a reply to my question about where I can purchase a Cyprus football jersey. Since no one has any input, what the heck, I'll give J's question a shot.

Yes, it is a very important question. Yet, I am sure that every society has asked itself the same question, not just the Greeks. I mean ... I am sure today's Germans, for example, have wondered how they ever produced a Hitler?

The Greeks:

World War 2;

invasion, occupation, by the Axis powers;

death, starvation, and destruction.

Civil war;

Greek against Greek;

death, starvation, and destruction.

The country endured 10 years of hell. So many brave Greeks dead. The flower of the Greek youth decimated. Who survived this 10-year inferno?

And there's your answer: Who? In that period, unless you were a collaborator, a coward, or the invisible man, your chances of survival were small. Who was left to lead the country?

Anyway, that's my hypothesis.

(Btw, which resistance group against the Germans did Papadopoulos join?)

lastgreek said...

Why I so vehemently blame the Americans?

With the Americans there is no middle ground, no compromise. It's either your with them, or ... you're dead. You don't believe me? Ask the widow of Omar Torrijos--Omar Torrijos, charismatic leader of Panama (1968-1981)--what happened to her husband when he tried to keep his country independent and free from outside interference. How many coups have the Americans attempted against the populist Chavez?

lastgreek said...

If Nixon had not unleashed Kissinger on the world, would things have turned out differently in Cyprus?

Kissinger was (is) a monstrous brute, but I don't think it would have made any difference if anyone else had been Secretary of State. For example, had Hillary Clinton been in Kissinger's place the result would have been the same: a catastrophe for both Greece and Cyprus. Sure the style of each Secretary would have been different, but since American foreign policy is more or less fixed, the content, unfortunately, would have been the same.

PS: Arrival transfer arranged from airport to hotel; 3 days, 2 nights in Athens hotel (near Akropolis), breakfast included; transer arranged from hotel to port, ferryboat tickets with return; transfer from island port to hotel; 4 days, 3 nights on Sifnos; arranged transfer from hotel to port; upon arrival in Athens, arranged transfer to hotel for 1 night stay; arranged transfer to bus terminals. Price for 2 adults and 1 child is 1092 euros, including handling and courier fees. That comes out to $1450 Canadian; this is through a travel agency. If I would do it without the services of an agency and arranged for each item separately, the price would be around $1100 to $1200 Canadian. I dunno ... I like the idea of paying a little more and having everything arranged, having no worries. If I were travelling alone, I wouldn't have cared--I would have gone it alone.