A Greek Cypriot view of the Cyprus Issue – revisited

Editor: “Mastakounas Evaggelos” has re-written his previous article and added several new observations.

If an outsider wanted to look at the Cyprus issue from an “everyday” Greek-Cypriot’s point of view, one has to take into account the fact that nothing that has, or will be placed on the negotiating table is considered fair by a GC.

Even if every (current) GC position placed on the table by GC politicians were to be agreed upon, the ending solution would still be considered unjust. If you are a GC reading this, in all probability, the above needs no extensive explanation. For others, here is an attempt to explain this “irrational behaviour”:

I feel anyone who lost what the GCs lost in 74′, in the way they did, would demand full “restitution.” There is, however, no known restitution for betrayal, loss of human life, pain and suffering (although after 35 years an honest apology, surprisingly enough, would come close).

This way of feeling (versus thinking) largely explains the GC politicians’ way of thought on the negotiating table, and in order to be fair regarding GC politicians, although they do recognise this “anomalous” effect in their strategy, they are unable to escape it due to the pressure they come under, politically, by their voters and their opponents.

The above is mainly the reason (other than Turkey) why every solution placed on the negotiating table is worse than the one that came before. I assure you, a 1977 proposed solution would now be received with a huge approval rate by GCs should it was placed for vote.

Here is a little more in-depth view of this way of thinking and some untruths that exist in the minds of GCs and TCs:

Men in black, Makarios and other troubled bearded Makarios-voting GCs.
The changes Makarios attempted to make in 1963 were in my view reasonable changes. It would allow the RoC to survive an unworkable constitution, one that was tilted in the favour of TCs. The TCs chose to walk out in protest encouraged by their separatist fanatical leadership who craved self-rule. They were after power.

In retrospect of the 1963 events, Makarios should have withdrawn these changes in order to re-unify the communities. He should have punished the people who committed crimes against TCs. He did none of that. He was wrong again in 74 in misjudging the idiocy of the Greek Junta and their intent to divide Cyprus. He was on the whole a moderate in views and mediocre as a politician.

GCs are not particularly religious.
Religion is ingrained in Greeks (as a culture) but people do not have strong religious beliefs and rarely attend church. As a whole we do not like the church. We also don’t like the way they look, all covered up and bearded like figures from previous centuries. The service in church is, in effect, in a different language which we “sort of understand” what is being preached. We don’t like to see them on TV, we don’t want them in our politics. They actually have little influence on what people think. We would like the church to be there for spiritual support and stay out of our lives. The above is contrary to what many TCs believe about GCs

The misunderstood ENOSIS Saga
It is often thought that GCs en mass supported ENOSIS before and during 74 and that the Junta in Cyprus had the support of the people (other than the 200-300 GC that opposed the RoC). It is also thought that Greece (and Greeks) wished GCs to join the Greek state. This is NOT true. Greece clearly stated in 55’ (to Makarios) that ENOSIS was not an option at the time. This remained the case to our day. The fact is that by 74 the only people “supporting” ENOSIS were the people who were not happy for being sidelined by Makarios’ (authoritarian) government and its spoils. These people did not care about unifying with Greece, all they wanted was to be in power. This was the EOKA B crowd. They were later pardoned by Makarios (as some kind of supreme over-ruler). These were the morons that got us into this mess. Most GCs think these people need to be in Jail, others turned a blind eye after the bloodbath in 74 for the sake of reconciliation. I feel Makarios’ policy of not punishing these people (and the people who committed the atrocities vs TCs earlier) is the reason why the RoC never really rose out of its problems.

Everyday common GCs, in the years before 74, were happy to keep getting richer and were getting comfortable. Greece was a deeply troubled place in the years 67-74. GCs were happy to stay put. No one spoke of making changes. Makarios opposed the Junta in Greece. Makarios was a threat to the generals in Greece (another story why). Clearly, no ENOSIS potential there. SO NO ENOSIS anywhere. Not the people, not the politicians, and certainly not the army. Not even the GC hot-heads (like Grivas). They were all after POWER. I think if ENOSIS with Greece was put to vote today (or anytime after 67), it would receive no more than 1-2%.

The Greek Junta, an award for idiocy and supreme betrayal
The junta in Cyprus, did not represent the views of ANY GC, not even Nick Sampson’s.  Allegedly, he had a gun to his head when taking over the Cyprus Junta presidency. Not only did the Junta not support ENOSIS, they actually FACILITATED the Turkish invasion. This facilitation happened in real terms, on the ground, when the invasion was happening. We have hundreds of (Greek and GC) dead soldiers and thousands of alive ones that will testify on how the Greek army command DELIVERED NC to Turkey. Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus would be militarily a very costly undertaking (even for mighty Turkey) had the Junta not arranged for this betrayal. They purposely sabotaged the defences of the RoC.

The Greek Junta fell under the weight of what happened in Cyprus 3 days after the invasion occurred. Greece returned to democracy ever since. The generals then, disregarded the very real threat of Turkey invading. The goal was to oust Makarios, divide Cyprus and sustain a conflict so they can stay in power.

GCs to this day feel betrayed by “mother” Greece (or rather its Junta). Greek Cypriots are culturally different to natives of Greece. There are many reasons for this which are not really relevant to this article. It is important to point out that we are to an extent ”incompatible” with each-other.

So Turkey “intervenes”
GCs think that the Turkish “intervention” occurred under the legitimate-looking pretext of protecting TCs from the regime that took power via taking over the RoC. Personally, I feel the threat to TCs under a Greek Junta was very real. The threat was real had Turkey not invaded simply because the Junta would act violently to FORCE Turkey to invade. So Turkey pre-empted the threat and used the guarantees as cover. The Junta gave Turkey the perfect excuse. One has to wonder if this was a pre-agreed deal.

It is important to say that there was no known anti-TC policy on Juntas’ part in the sense that their goal was not ethnic cleansing but simply to maintain power at all cost (including killing GCs and TCs alike). One of course has to mention that Turkey delayed this pre-planned invasion by 7 years. It was first attempted in 1967 but was foiled in the last moment by the intervention of primarily the U.S.

So if the “intervention” was to restore legitimacy, it did none of that. One month after the invasion (and the Juntas’ demise from power soon thereafter), Turkey proceeded to complete its division plans by expanding the territory it held, shaping it in the way it is today. In the process it committed crimes against innocent GCs which went unpunished by the courts of this world.

I feel  that the Turkish military had (and still has) no real interest in the well-being of TCs, much in the way it has no real, well meant, interest of the Turkish people as a whole. Much like the Greek Junta, the establishment in Turkey were looking for a way to stay in the forefront of Turkish politics and maintain their status as “protectors” of the Turkish people. In effect, governing Turkey in the place of any elected democratic government.

In the years to follow, the intention to move towards a solution was NEVER there with exception of Turkish PMs Ozal and Erdogan (for different reasons).Turkey had considered the Cyprus issue “solved” for the better part of the last 35 years. There are numerous such statements made by Turkish Presidents to that end. Turkey proceeded with its plans in the mid-80s with a surprising announcement of the “TRNC”. A turn from the popular view that Turkey would annex Cyprus. It then changed the demographics of North Cyprus so as to solidify the separation, much to the dismay of TCs, most of whom had fled the island in the years before and after this.

This kind of new “diplomatic” face of Turkey is news to all of us (including TCs). This new face first surfaced post 2003 with the opening of the “borders”. GCs feel that nothing has really changed. Turkey has simply took off its military uniform and put on a suit. I feel, however, this is an important change and hints to the fact that Turkey is making an effort for change. I am hopeful that Erdogan will prevail and will bring about slow but meaningful change.

On TCs, “our brothers”
We don’t like them. And let me explain why. I happen to think that the only people who lost more than we did were the (majority) of TCs. TCs were the only ones in this insane Cyprus story that had more people conspire against them than the GCs did. The GCs were of course this additional group that turned against TCs.  GC marginalised and took advantage of TCs. Surprisingly not in the political arena (1960-63 and after) but in a social/cultural way. We ignored TCs’ needs and plans like the Akritas plan sought to keep them on the sidelines of society. For this, GCs are guilty and we cannot blame our “bad leaders” for this.

The reason why we do not like you is not the mutiny in 1963 or the invasion in 1974. It’s not even the “TRNC” or the fact that you are living in our houses. TCs were no angels in the years between 1955-59, 1963-64 and in 1974. They, however, only played a secondary role in terms of influencing the situation. And therein, is the reason why we do not like them. It’s because they never had the strength to voice any kind of opinion. They went from GCs pushing them around to Turkey turning them into refugees and taking any voice they had. They let corrupt people run their “government”. They did not stay and fight, they fled to London. They let GC houses be taken over by settlers who in turn deprived them of their own opinion in their internal matters. They did nothing to return Famagusta, ignoring the suffering of its inhabitants, letting it go to ruin instead.They didn’t protest when the Turkish army was killing GC civilians on the DMZ. They pretended they didn’t see that. The few TCs who do voice opposition are marginalised in the TC community.

Where are you? Where are you? Are you there? Do you care?

GCs on themselves
What a crowd! Short-changed by the Brits, mislead by our leaders, turned on TCs, betrayed by Greeks (Junta), turned on ourselves, invaded by Turks, abandoned by TCs. What a ride!
There is no doubt, we are ourselves to blame for what we have become. We had choices (not always), and we messed them up.

Yes, everyone played their role and used us to get where they wanted to get to in their struggle for power in disregard to our best interests. But there is no denying, we were not defending Cyprus for Cypriots. We were living in denial of reality especially in the years prior to 1974. Turkey is the perpetrator here and is guilty of crimes. And it is right for us to continue to fight them off the island.

We have, I feel, learned our lesson. We paid for it with our own blood.

GC on a solution
The solution to the Cyprus problem is hidden in the misty world of Turkish governance and what seems to be an endless struggle for control of the sick man of Europe. Things are starting to turn, slowly very slowly.

Peace

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