Friday, 13 January 2012
Rauf Denktash, Turkish Cypriot terrorist leader and war criminal, is dead
In 1958, with Denktash leading it, the TMT planted a bomb outside the Turkish consulate in Nicosia, an incident blamed on Greek Cypriots and which led to Turkish attacks on Greek shops and homes across the island, including the massacre of eight Greek Cypriots outside the Turkish Cypriot village of Kioneli. Widespread intercommunal violence followed and, as Denktash hoped it would, the tension fostered a siege mentality among the outnumbered Turkish Cypriots. Even after independence in 1960, guided by Denktash, Turkish Cypriots proceeded to break off all political, social and economic relations with Greek Cypriots and retreated into armed enclaves, from where they sought to challenge the authority of the Republic of Cyprus and provoke clashes with government forces, all in the hope of creating a crisis and providing a pretext for Turkey to invade and partition Cyprus.
Denktash’s plan was realised in 1974, when a coup against the Cyprus government, engineered by the military junta then ruling Greece, was followed by Turkish invasion and the seizing of 37 percent of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish assault was accompanied by the usual atrocities associated with ethnic cleansing, as 200,000 Greeks were driven from their homes and land.
With northern Cyprus under Turkish army control, Denktash, as leader of the occupation regime, then set about zealously destroying the Greek and Christian heritage of northern Cyprus and turning the occupied part of the island into a Turkish province. A cornerstone of this Turkification policy was the importation of hundreds of thousands of settlers from Turkey into northern Cyprus.
In 1983, Denktash proclaimed the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’, a puppet ‘state’ immediately declared illegal by the UN and still to achieve recognition from any country, except Turkey. For the next 20 years, Turkish Cypriots led a North Korean-type existence, cut off from the outside world and encouraged to believe that their self-imposed isolation was necessary to protect them from Greek Cypriots hellbent on revenge and massacre. Denktash retired in 2005, but his efforts to diminish Turkish Cypriot identity and create a stronghold for the Kemalist deep state ensured that his nightmare vision for Cyprus remained alive, if not completely fulfilled.
Denktash’s legacy is one of bloodshed and suffering. His goal of partition was predicated on ethnic cleansing, on forcing Greek Cypriots from one part of Cyprus and terrorising Turkish Cypriots into fleeing to the other. His politics were characterised by fanaticism and hatred and the result was violence that devastated Cyprus and scarred both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. For such wickedness in a later era, men were brought before international tribunals and accused of being war criminals.
ADDENDUM: Reading this piece again, it is wrong to imply from what I’ve written that Denktash’s plan of retreating into enclaves and provoking Turkey to invade was a success. Actually, it was a failure, because Greek Cypriots were able, from 1967-74, to keep both the TMT and the threat of Turkish invasion at bay. Indeed, the 1967-74 period was a period of despair for Denktash. What allowed for the realisation of Denktash’s plan was, of course, the coup and the excuse it gave the Turks to invade. Without the coup, the travails Denktash put the Turkish Cypriots through would have amounted to nothing.