Friday, 22 November 2013

Karamanlis’ betrayal of Cyprus: ‘Greece cannot help you. You’re on your own.’

Above is an interesting item from RIK news broadcast this week in the aftermath of the death of former president of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides in which the prominent jurist Polys Polyviou talks about the period between the first (20 July) and second (14 August) phases of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

The three-week ‘ceasefire’ was supposed to allow peace talks to proceed in Geneva between Britain, Turkey, Greece and the two Cypriot sides, while in fact Turkey used the hiatus to build up its forces on the island in preparation for a more decisive military operation, the first operation having failed to achieve its objectives. It was during the Geneva talks period that the Americans – even if we accept their claim that they were ignorant of the Greek junta’s coup against President Makarios and impotent to prevent the first Turkish invasion – provided encouragement and diplomatic cover to Ankara to complete the forcible partition of Cyprus.

At the Geneva talks, Glafkos Clerides was chief negotiator for the Greek Cypriot side and it’s worth drawing attention to Polyviou’s recollection of the interaction between Clerides and Konstantinos Karamanlis, who had assumed power in Greece following the fall of the junta.

Prior to going to Geneva, Clerides visited Athens for consultations with the Greek government.

Polyviou – who was part of the Cypriot team – says that in Athens, Clerides met with Karamanlis and minister of defence, Evangelos Averoff.

Karamanlis said to Clerides: ‘The situation is exceptionally difficult. Our armed forces are in a chaotic and deficient state. I can’t predict what will happen, but I’m 70-80 percent certain Greece cannot help Cyprus.’

Karamanlis’ advice to Clerides was to prolong the negotiations in Geneva in order to give Greece time to influence the positions of the major powers, which were favouring Turkey. Clerides responded to Karamanlis that, in his view, in Geneva the Turks were going to demand partition and that, in the event of the Greek Cypriots not agreeing to this, would resume hostilities to bring about their aim. Clerides asked Karamanlis what Greece proposed to do should Turkey resume military operations against Cyprus.

Karamanlis’ reply was: ‘Glafkos, I can’t tell you anymore than I’ve already told you.’

With the Greek Cypriots unwilling to accept the Turkish demands for partition and the Turks not prepared to further delay their military plans, Turkey broke off the Geneva talks. On 14 August, the Greek Cypriot delegation flew to Athens to seek the support of Karamanlis and the Greek government against what seemed imminent Turkish attack.

In a dramatic meeting, Polyviou recalls Karamanlis telling Clerides: ‘Greece cannot help you. You’re on your own.’

To which Clerides replied: ‘Mr President, in the name of God, can’t you offer us anything at all? I appreciate you cannot send land forces; but can’t you at least send a ship, something, anything, to divert the Turks?’

Karamanlis: ‘Glafkos, we cannot do anything.’

Clerides: ‘So what did [Greek foreign minister, Georgios] Mavros mean when he told us in Geneva, “in a choice between dishonour and war, we prefer war”? Why did he tell us this?’

Karamanlis: ‘I don’t know. I’m not Mavros.’

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Werner Herzog and Cormac McCarthy on civilisation, tragedy and the end of the world

Good discussion in the above video on the links between art and science, the origins of civilisation and the end of the universe, involving Werner Herzog and Cormac McCarthy, during which the American writer responds to the charge that he depicts the world as ‘grim’ by saying: 
‘If you look at classical literature, the core of literature is the idea of tragedy. You don’t really learn much from the good things that happen to you. Tragedy is at the core of human experience. It’s what we have to deal with. That’s what makes life difficult and that’s what we want to know about, what we want to know how to deal with. It’s unavoidable. There’s nothing you can do to forestall it; so how do you deal with it? All classical literature has to do with things that happen to people they really rather hadn’t.’

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Χώμα που περπάτησα, γη που νοσταλγώ

Above is an uplifting video featuring supporters of Anorthosis – the sporting club from the Turkish-occupied Greek city of Ammochostos (Famagusta) – during a Challenge Cup volleyball match with the Turkish team Fenerbache played last week in Limassol. Regarding the history of Anorthosis and who and what it represents, it’s worth bearing the following in mind:

Anorthosis was formed in 1911 as a cultural and political organisation aimed at promoting and mobilising Hellenism in the Famagusta region of Cyprus and took its name from Eleftherios Venizelos’ rallying cry of Anorthosis (Regeneration) as he prepared Greece for the realisation of the Great Idea.

Anorthosis collected funds and sent volunteers to the Balkan and Asia Minor wars and, during the EOKA period 1955-59, the club played a leading role. EOKA stalwarts Kyriakos Matsis, Grigoris Afxentiou, Antonis Papadopoulous, Pavlos Pavlakis and Panagiotis Toumazos were all members of Anorthosis; and in 1958 the English blew up Anorthosis’ headquarters in Famagusta as punishment for the club’s EOKA connections.

Currently, Anorthosis is a club in exile, and the majority of its supporters – who come from the city of Famagusta, its satellite towns and villages, and the Karpasia peninsula – are refugees.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Golden Dawn, hysteria, hatred and two inevitable murders

It is no surprise that the hysteria and hatred directed at Golden Dawn, the attempt to categorise it as a criminal organisation and demonise and humiliate its members, in a country that has for forty years tolerated left-wing brutality and violence, in which recent calls for the ‘hanging of fascists’ were deemed legitimate, was going to result in the incident yesterday in Athens that saw leftist terrorists shoot to death two Golden Dawn supporters and seriously injure another. 

What nauseating hypocrisy that all those politicians and journalists who were last month jumping for joy at the arrest and incarceration of leading Golden Dawn figures, creating an atmosphere of loathing, polarisation and dehumanisation, now have the audacity to plead for national unity and calm. Last month’s state crackdown on Golden Dawn on trumped up charges designed to drive it from the political scene was never going to succeed so long as the reasons for Golden Dawn’s emergence remained unaddressed and now, with this predictable attack by leftist terrorists on Golden Dawn, we have a scenario where Golden Dawn, rather than being shown up for what it is – a party with little to contribute to the regeneration of Greece – is again dominating the political limelight, from which it will be able to enhance its public appeal by portraying itself as a victim of a corrupt and dishonest system.