Saturday, 26 November 2011

Cyprus Still Divided

Above is Cyprus Still Divided, a pretty good documentary on the Cyprus issue and the role the USA – and particularly the odious Henry Kissinger – played in partitioning the island. The film was made by the American Hellenic Institute with the intention of educating a US audience and, as such, has been shown on NPR stations and at various ‘Town Hall screenings’. There’s good archive footage, mostly taken from Michalis Cacoyiannis’ film Attila 1974: The Rape of Cyprus, plus more recent interviews with Paul Sarbanes, John Brademas, Nicholas Burns, Christopher Hitchens, Titina Loizidou and others.

A couple of points on accuracy and interpretation.

1. The film states that the policy of the Athens junta 1967-74 was enosis. This is not true. The junta’s Cyprus policy was partition. This is well established now. Thus, despite dressing itself up as nationalist and patriotic, the junta’s policy for Cyprus was anything but; having been persuaded by its US supervisors that the best thing for the junta, Greco-Turkish relations, the West in its contest with communism and so on, was for Cyprus to be divided between Greece and Turkey. The tension that existed between the junta and Makarios – why they tried to assassinate him and eventually overthrew him in a coup – was because they regarded the archbishop as an obstacle not to enosis, which Makarios believed in, but to partition, which he, and 99% of Cypriots, did not.

2. The film states that the junta’s purpose in removing Makarios was to unite Cyprus with Greece. But, as I’ve already said, partition not enosis was the junta’s policy, in which case the purpose of the coup was the removal of Makarios and the setting up of a subordinate regime in Nicosia, permitting Athens to open negotiations with Turkey as to how best to partition the island, along the lines of the Acheson plan. Thus, even though junta-leader Dimitrios Ioannides was stupid and a psychopath, he would not have acted against Makarios if he thought the Turks would invade. All Ioannides’ actions in July 1974 suggest he was under the impression – provided to him by the Americans – that Turkey accepted Athens’ plan to get rid of Makarios in order to expedite partition.

3. When talking about the coup against Makarios, the film shows images of Colonel Giorgos Papadopoulos, even though he had been ousted by Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannides as junta leader in November 1973 and it was Ioannides, not Papadopoulos, who initiated the coup against Makarios.

Indeed, one of Makarios’ biggest miscalculations was not to have realised that the junta under Ioannides was far more dangerous to Cyprus than it had been under Papadopoulos. Makarios always believed that, despite the constant rumours, the Papadopoulos-led junta would not be so stupid as to initiate a coup against him. Makarios mistakenly assumed that this basic level of intelligence was shared by Ioannides and his cohorts.

4. Finally, Christopher Hitchens makes his usual incisive interventions in the film; and I want to dwell on his statement that Cyprus paid the price for the fall of the junta. This is entirely accurate and, indeed, it always annoys me the way (mainland) Greeks insist they brought down the junta – and that central to this was the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic in November 1973. All the student protest achieved was convince hard-liners, like Ioannides, that Papadopoulos wasn’t tough enough and that Greece needed a firmer hand. It didn’t shorten the time of the junta by five minutes.


Prometheus said...

Regarding your comment in item 1, this is the usual fairy tale they taught us in schools. I think we can judge better now.

-What Makarios really wanted is shown by the FACT that he DID sign for independence, despite what 95% of the people wanted. He was neither qualified, nor elected to make these kind of decisions. He also ACCEPTED a constitution that he obviously didn't read, as he wanted to change 13 points from it after he accepted it. There are other more pragmatic reasons to explain his treacherous behavior, other than the usual "Karamanlis put pressure on him",etc, such as: he wanted to rule, autokefalus issues related to the Church, etc.

-You have to understand that a big percentage of Greeks of Cyprus now they favor division, according to last year's gallop by Politis. I am not justifying the invasion, the disaster, the deaths, etc, but i am saying that division as a political solution sounds as a very realistic solution. At the very least, people should be asked on the matter.

As Greeks, of mainland, or Cyprus, or of diaspora, etc, we NEED to stop our schizophrenic and contradictory behavior, recognize reality, and set clear plans on what we want and where we are going. For example, we can't whine about division where at the same time a big percentage of the population wants division, or for things to stay as are. We can't blame others, for things we ACCEPTED/SIGNED our selves.

John Akritas said...

On the one hand you say, Makarios willingly signed the Zurich-London agreements because he never believed in enosis but wanted independence to protect the Church of Cyprus, and then you acknowledge that, three years later, Makarios proposed 13 amendments to the 1960 constitution. Why did he propose the 13 amendments, if not to remove the obstacles to Greek Cypriot self-determination imposed by Zurich-London and pave the way for enosis?

'Cyprus is Greek. Cyprus has been Greek since the dawn of history and will remain Greek. Greek and undivided we have taken it over; Greek and undivided we shall preserve it. Greek and undivided we shall deliver it to Greece.' (Makarios in a speech at Yialousa village… in 1971).

How do you explain such a statement; especially given your assertion that the junta – you are aware of the quality of person that comprised the junta, are you? – were ardent enosists?

And if you believe that Greek Cypriots want partition, then you'd better provide the evidence. What opinion poll in Politis? What was the question? What were the options? Was it status quo versus the Annan plan? Was it status quo versus a unitary state, with Turkish troops and settlers off the island? You ask me a certain question and my gut reaction may well be that I prefer the status quo – of division – to an even worse scenario, such as the Annan plan.

And understand that partition doesn't mean partition, it actually means a step towards Turkey's plan to take over the entire island. Just think for five minutes what the economic and political consequences would be if a sovereign Turkish state in the north were recognised. This would be a massive boost to Turkey's ambition to extend its influence and sovereignty in the Eastern Mediterranean and Hellenism in Cyprus would be wiped out within a generation. Only a fool would suggest such an arrangement is in the interests of Cyprus, or Greece.

Cyprus George said...

What's this Prometheus saying? That Makarios was lying to Greek Cypriots in the 1950's when he was leading the campaign for Enosis and that secretly the clever devil was planning for independence all along and this was because he was interested in being president of the midget Republic of Cyprus? I've not heard this version of events before. Maybe I haven't heard it because it's stupid.

Prometheus said...

Unfortunately, the Politis' opinion poll i couldn't retrieve from their site, so we can discuss it. (It had more than 25% favoring the situation to stay as is). Nevertheless, i submit another opinion poll, indicating that with the most conservative estimates, that situation changed significantly in the recent years.

Now, regarding your comments:

-I don't see any contradiction between Makarios not wanting enosis (by the way, i never said HE never WANTED. I was focusing more in his actions for independence), and his changing of the 13 points. Anyway, the point is you can't just first sign, and then try to change things, etc, with the pretense to make things more favorable to x or y community. The struggle against the British was for ENOSIS, or at least self-determination that leads to enosis...not for independence. DO YOU UNDERTAND THAT..? Him signing for independence, KILLED what people's will was. I could care less if in his words said he wanted union, etc...these are just words.

-The statement by Makarios could easily be explained as one of his usual rhetoric (like PASOK's or ND's statements that they care for the country, etc), orthodox nationalism, and over-spontaneity. You are very well aware that what the meaning of "greek" is for orthodox byzantine-nationalists, and what "greek" means "ethnikous" is very different. BUT, even if his words were genuine, then they lose weight relative to his ACTIONS which were the exact OPPOSITE of what he said. So, what should judge from? His words or his acts? (So, maybe the burden of explanation lies on you then to explain the statement).

- I don't particularly see much credibility to your conspiracy theories, and fear factors, on your last paragraph, so i will simply dismiss it. I will only say that i am not fond of the junta, and if they weren't for union, that doesn't imply that Makarios was, just because they didn't like each other. There actually many similarities between Makarios and the Junta. But, what i want to emphasize again is that the division i am proposing is under certain terms, it's for the preservation of any remaining Hellenic element on this island, the better governance, and for avoiding tension.

(When Cyprus George actually makes a valid point, i would be more than glad to answer. But, for the moment his last statement lacks validity, misinterprets what i said (i never said M was scheming all along), hence nothing to seriously comment about).

John Akritas said...


You need to read a little more modern Greek history. Independence before enosis was quite typical of the way the Greek state expanded. Crete being the obvious example, so I don't quite know why you are fixated on the 'signing' of Zurich-London. You seem to believe constitutions are religious documents handed down by God and meant to endure forever. In fact, not one party to Zurich-London believed that the state of affairs it brought into being was the final or optimum solution and that the struggle for taksim or enosis would continue in the new circumstances.

Makarios' position was clear: enosis – and, as his Yialousa speech makes clear, enosis for him meant enosis of the whole island, 'undivided', not double enosis, which was the policy of Greek governments since 1964 – was desirable, but not feasible in the prevailing conditions. A way had to be found to bypass Turkey's belligerent opposition to Cyprus being united with Greece, and his answer was to strengthen the independence of Cyprus and neutralise those parts of the constitution that restricted Greek Cypriot self-determination and encouraged Turkish separatism – which is what lay behind the 13 amendments in 1963.

And your evidence for a desire among Greek Cypriots for partition – two opinion polls showing 25 percent 'support' for the status quo (and the status quo is not formal partition and two independent states, but a recognised Republic of Cyprus and a struggle to liberate the 40 percent under occupation) – is shabby, as is your failure to understand that should there be formal partition a rump Greek statelet in Cyprus would be overwhelmed by Turkey in no time. Why do you think Turkey wants partition and has been campaigning for partition for 60 years?

Generally, I am aware that no argument or rational presentation of the facts will persuade you to abandon your perverse thinking. You remind me of one of these fanatical monks beloved of our Church who come up with some theory about the Pope, Satan, the Jews or Freemasons and no amount of logic or argument can divert them from their fanatical devotion to their version of events.

Prometheus said...

John, you run out of arguments, so you started the ad-hominem. You need to wake up...and realize that there is also something called real-politik. You need to read some older history, and check when exactly the stronger one ever negotiated with the weaker one.

You, and some other romantics, simply by howling "liberation" that doesn't mean that liberation will come, or it is feasible. With what army? Or is it with negotiations? Are you going for Istanbul too after Cyprus?

It is exactly this kind of megalo-ideaism, and megalomania, that cost us any notions of hellenism in Cyprus, and elsewhere. We rejected the Acheson Plan, which was giving us more than 90% of Cyprus because we wanted it ALL. Makarios, as you said, wanted (or so he said) "enosis of the whole island, 'undivided'", as if an 18% minority Turks was invisible, or didn't count.

Once again, and i could care less if it causes allergies to hear it, i am all for a Greek in character South Cyprus (of the 82%), etc, and not this banana state with no character or identity. The 18% north, they can call it Byzantium for what i care. We could have open border, trade, etc, or we could built a wall. The point is that we could untangle finally ourselves from this mess, move on, and the bigger point is that all these are more realistic from what you are proposing: liberation or unification. Would you like to give some meaningful content to your rhetoric, and empty words, and kindly explain us HOW exactly are we liberating the north part, or how exactly are we going to have one country in which the minority wants equal presidency, representation, there are religious differences, etc, etc?

P.S. Regarding your rumbling there on Jews, Masons, etc, i have NO clue what you are talking i will pass.

Prometheus said...

Also, i don't understand your logic: Just because Turkey wants x, does it always mean x is always wrong because they are our "enemy". Or, does it imply that because Turkey stands for y we should stand for -y,etc?

This is exactly how our schizophrenic Neo-Cypriot, Neo-Greek, "identity" and idiosyncracy was formed. Most identify themselves as Orthodox, even though most have no clue in hell what that means, or whether has value, etc, and they do it out of simple misplaced national antithesis to the muslim Turks. We really need to move on at some point...

John Akritas said...

You seem very, very confused. On the one hand, you say you fear for Hellenism in Cyprus should we have a united Cyprus with a significant Turkish Cypriot presence in government and so on; and on the other hand you say Greeks suffer from 'a misplaced national antithesis' to Muslim Turks. So, what is it you want: an end to this 'misplaced antithesis' or some purified form of Hellenism uncontaminated by contact with the Turkish Cypriots? Why do you suppose that the Greek character of Cyprus will be dissolved by having TCs in government? Will vice-president Talat all of a sudden make us Turks and Muslims? Or is Cyprus' Greek character more at risk from the continued colonisation of northern Cyprus and the destruction of every semblance of Greek history and culture there? And if you are scared of too many TCs in government, then why not argue – like Makarios, before the invasion – for a unitary and not a federal state? Why does this fear you have of Turkish contamination lead you to argue not for a more equitable distribution of power based on the fact that Greeks are 80% of the Cypriot population, but to the conclusion that we should relinquish to Turkey Kyrenia, Karpasia and Morhpou? And why would recognising Turkish sovereignty in the north act as a catalyst for a revival of Hellenism in the rest of Cyprus? Why would the 65% of Cyprus comprising the Hellenic Republic of Southern Cyprus no longer be a banana republic – if this is what it is – but a bastion of Hellenism? What form would this return to Hellenism take in the new, truncated Hellenic Republic of Southern Cyprus. In fact, formally partitioning Cyprus would turn Cyprus from a banana republic not into Sparta but into a Greek Gaza Strip, perpetually at Turkey's mercy, not able to breath without Turkey's say-so.

To prove you haven't thought through your idea for one minute: you even suggest we might have an open border with the new Turkish state you propose creating in the north, i.e. an open border with Turkey. A stupid, suicidal proposal. Alternatively, you go to the other extreme, and suggest we build a wall to protect us from 'the misplaced national antithesis'. Do you have a prototype for this 'wall'? Ghettos tend to have walls like this, do they not? And have you cleared your anti-Turkish wall with the EU? You are aware that Cyprus is a member of the EU and, if Turkey joins, even if it becomes a privileged partner, then such a wall would have to come down; and when it comes down, then we're back to your suicide proposal of an open border with Turkey…

Generally, what your 'argument' amounts to is this: to satisfy what you regard as the legitimate interests of Turkey and because Greeks are weak and Turks are strong, you propose handing over 30 percent of Cyprus to Turkey. Using this same logic, why not give the Turks 15 percent of Rodos – is 15 percent enough? maybe the Turks will want more? I'm sure they will – 10 percent of Kos and half of W. Thrace, with another quarter going to Bulgaria. And, of course, let's give Macedonia to the Skopjans – they are pretty insistent that it belongs to them and they have a legitimate need to access the sea – and why not give Syros and Santorini to the Italians, and let the Albanians and Afghans declare an autonomous zone in central Athens. Fair's fair. They can't all be wrong.

And, we've had this argument before, and it's pointless having it again, because, as I said, you have a fanatical monk-like attachment to your 'theories'; but what Acheson plan offered 90% of the island to us? Did Turkey accept it? What were the arrangements for TCs who would not have moved into the 10 percent area given to Turkey? Where do you get your information from? And don't you think such a deal would have acted as precedent and Turkey would have sought a similar partition of the Aegean and Thrace? Should every country that disputes Greek territory be given something so that we can 'move on'?

Cyprus George said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't what this P. is arguing for – partition – what the British and the Turks want? How've you got it into your head, P. that partition is the patriotic solution? It might be patriotic if you're a Turk, but it's laying down and dying if you're a Greek patriot. Thank God, P. wasn't around in 1821 – 'Don't have a revolution. The Turks are too powerful' – We'd still be living under the Ottomans or, more likely, have ended up like the Assyrians. Extinct.

Kosta said...

I'd also like to know when there was an offer on the table that proposed dividing Cyprus 90-10. Acheson offered 30% to Turkey plus Kastellorizo plus autonomous eparchies to the Turkish Cypriots within the proposed Greek part of Cyprus. A revised plan reduced this 30% to Karpasia, two autonomous Turkish zones in the Greek part of Cyprus and made no mention of Kastellorizo – but this plan was flatly rejected by Turkey. So where does this 90% come from and where is this missed opportunity we had to accept it? However, 90-10 is probably what the junta had in mind when it got rid of Makarios. They'd offer Turkey 10 to start with, maybe go up to 15 – except the Turks thought why not divide the spoils on our own terms?

John Akritas said...

And if Cyprus is so weak in relation to Turkey and has no choice but to give in to Turkish demands, then why has Turkey failed to impose its preferred solution on Cyprus? Because Cyprus has certain advantages and Turkey certain disadvantages and to accept the logic of 'the strong do what they can while the weak suffer what they must' is not to accept realpolitik but the propaganda of those who purport to be strong. Besides which, you have a simple-minded view of strength and power: Turkey may have more military power than Cyprus, but it doesn't have the diplomatic power to impose its solutions on Cyprus. The recent spat over the gas drilling is evidence of this.

Hermes said...

Promotheus, you write “You need to read some older history, and check when exactly the stronger one ever negotiated with the weaker one”. Actually, many stronger states have negotiated with weaker ones because they deem it too diplomatically costly not too, it is not a main theatre for them or there are other larger forces which compel them too. Although, Turkey is obviously stronger head to head militarily and economically with Cyprus, Cyprus is backed by Greece. Cyprus is also backed to some extent by Russia, the EU and more recently Israel. Also, do not be seduced by Turkey’s 70 million population. The place is wracked with divisions that are likely to explode into a Syria-like situation one day.

Arguably, Turkey is not negotiating with a weaker state.

Hermes said...

Prometheus, the below video is very important. It shows the potential next Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull discussing in the House of Representatives last week, the Greek, Assyrian and Armenian Genocides. You might say it is just words and ineffectual, but there is a diplomatic cost for Turkey. And if we keep chipping away, as the local Australian lobbying groups have, then it makes things just a little more difficult for Turkey.

Likewise, for Cyprus, lobbying efforts do contribute. See below.

Prometheus said...

Cyprus George is still off the point, so respond to others.

John... i think you are the confused one...There is no contradiction to my pointing out that Cypriots define themselves as antithetical to Turks (you did it too, 3 lines further) and Cypriots securing Hellenic identity via partition. Actually, one relates to the other.

If you don't get it, let me explain it once more:

What i am saying is that all those Romioi of your type subscribe to a false sense of Greekness by simply being antithetical to Turks, or identifying themselves as Orthodox, etc, etc. This probably goes back all the way to the Fall of Con'ple.

So, when i say partition, i do NOT certainly understand it as a simple partition, in which things in our side will simply stay as they are after that event. I see/want partition more as an opportunity for us to re-define ourselves, get out of the confusion, and restore history and identity. This is much more important for me than 2 villages and a town, that might be sacrificed. Which is not even sacrifice, as the TC's have the right of a place to exist too.

I am saying that even if we found a solution, and lived together, this would only increase our false sense of being "Cypriots" instead of Greeks, rather than the opposite. A unification that could secure (and re-define) our Hellenic culture (our true one, not the Romeiko we have now) is not a-priori rejected by me, but i see that hard to happen. So, you didn't get what is my main concern here, when i speak of division, etc.

Keep in mind that my criticism on misplaced sense of identity and historical/philosophical confusion extends very much to Greece too. I never said that the Modern-Greek Romioi that inhabit the area there i understand them as Greeks. As long as they are orthodox (= the killers of Greek culture), they cannot be Greeks. But, thankfully, more and more started to realize that the last decade. Hopefully, this crisis will serve as an opportunity for them to reflect and re-define themselves too, as the Romio-culture hasn't brought them anywhere so far.

The same for Cyprus, even though the case of Cyprus is even worse, as i believe that the Cyprus state sits on a political and historical mistake. One could argue also that it sits on a brutal violation of people's choice for union. the Acheson's plan, the Americans basically asked for a base, and Makarios said NO. Either way, even if it is as you say it is, it is still better than where we are now, and we would also have avoided all the killing, refugees, etc.

Hermes...some rare cases there and there of negotiation (even though you havn'e given me examples) do not make it a rule. The norm is usually that the stronger sets the rules. I am not saying we should simply swallow that, but at least understand it, and stop being romantic, or behave that we are the ones with the power.

In conclusion, i want to say that i see the internal enemies (the Church, idiosyncracy, habits, superficiality) as much more serious that any external enemies, which most of the times are invented or exaggerated simply to preserve the already corrupted social status quo.

John Akritas said...

Cyprus should be partitioned in order to facilitate the annihilation of Orthodoxy and the establishment of the culture of fifth century Athens on the island.

Yes, there's a great deal of logic and good sense in that. You must have arrived at such an analysis after many sleepless nights and even more cold showers.

Prometheus said...

If that's what you understood from what i said... good for you :) Anyway... let's move on.

Hermes said...

I found this tremendous poem by Montis a few days ago:

Και τι θα γίνει τώρα,
θα σχίσουμε τα παλιά μας τετράδια
που ‘ταν γεμάτα χρωματιστή «Ένωση»,
θα σχίσουμε τα παλιά μας σχολικά τετράδια
που ‘ ταν γεμάτα «Ένωση» διακοσμημένη με γιασεμιά και
λεμονανθούς και μαργαρίτες,
θα σχίσουμε τα παλιά αναγνωστικά των παιδιών μας
με τις ελληνικές σημαίες,
θα πετάξουμε τ’ αγαπημένο αναμνηστικό σκουφί του Γυμνασίου
με την «Ένωση» στο γείσο,
θα πετάξουμε το χάρακά τους
και την τσάντα και τη μπάλα και το ποδήλατο
που ‘γραφαν «Ένωση»;
Αλήθεια, πέστε μου, τι θα γίνει τώρα;
Κώστας Μόντης
ΚΥΠΡΟΣ 1974-1976, Β,605

John Akritas said...

Montis' generation and the one that followed it were besotted with Greece. It was an unrequited love, and a love that AKEL has discredited by portraying as a disastrous expression of nationalism and chauvinism. I was hopeful that AKEL would be marginalised following its disgraceful handling of the Mari disaster and the economy; but it seems this is not going to happen.

Hermes said...

John, you mentioned the independent and unification pattern above. I did not know that Samos's history reflected Ionian Islander, Cretan and Cypriot history in that they gained some form of independence and then agitated for unification with Greece. Of course, Cyprus has not still not achieved this aim. This is a fascinating series of articles by Dean Kalimniou on Samos's journey:

John Akritas said...

Samos, Crete and even Ikaria had a brief period of independence before enosis, and, of course, there was talk of both an independent Pontian state and an independent Ionian state in Asia Minor as Greece withdrew in 1922.

Coincidentally, I came across this piece today on how the Samos Chamber of Commerce is defying orders from the Greek foreign office not to take part in a tourism exhibition in Smyrna that will include the pseudo-state in Cyprus. Samians shouldn't forget who they are, or that, when I was there – maybe 10-15 years ago – I was proud to notice that the main square in Vathy was named after the EOKA heroes Michalis Karaolis and Andreas Dimitriou.

Also, coincidentally, over the weekend, I was watching Olivier's brilliant Richard III and Al Pacino's Looking for Richard, and didn't know until I read Dean K's piece that Richard had his brother drowned in Samian wine.

Hermes said...

John, I have heard about the Samians intransigence on the Smyrna exhibition and it is appalling.

I watched Battle of Algiers for the first time (I am a late adapter) last Friday. Interesting movie but I must say I had a bit of sympathy for the French. The love for the Algerians in the movie by Western youth; and particularly, cult movie buffs, shows how far we have regressed. I wonder how many of those youths would prefer to sit in a French cafe or the slums of Algiers today? This week I am watcing The Dancer Upstairs by the Croat, Malkovich.

John Akritas said...

Camus was right about Algeria. The youth should have listened to him.