Musings of a morbid mind

The general ravings of Scott Baldwin

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Cyprus - the politics

The very first day I arrived in Cyprus, Niki's father handed me a book called "The Cyprus Conspiracy" that explains the events that have caused all the problems in Cyprus. For those who aren't familiar with the plight of Cyprus, the current status stems from the Turkish invasion in 1973. Turkey now occupy the Northern third of Cyprus and it is called "The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". They have their own flag and they use the Turkish currency, but Turkey is the only country to officially recognise them as an independent nation. The book is quite interesting, and explains the extremely rough path from British colony after the second world war to independent nation in 1960 and then the events that consequently caused Turkey to invade. It really scares me all the dirty tricks, hidden agenda's and double dealing that goes on in the world of international politics. The British and Americans have an awful lot to answer for. Nicosia, the capital is left divided between the independent Cyprus and The Turkish occupied North. In the mountains overlooking the city of Nicosia, is an image painted into the mountain of both the Turkish flag, and the flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

You can see this image from many parts of the the independent side of Nicosia, a blatant reminder of the turmoil. I promised previously more on Macarios. Macarios was the Arch Bishop of Cyprus from 1950 til 1977. Because of the religious orientation of the Greek Cypriot population, Macarios in his position as Arch Bishop, also assumed the role of President. Macarios was instrumental in the struggle for independence from Britain, and many still consider him a hero. He did however, make some mistakes, his support for the guerrilla movement EOKA, made up of Greek Cypriots, and his doctrine of enosis (union with Greece) caused a rift between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot population which (amongst other circumstances) eventually lead to the Turkish invasion in an attempt to protect the rights of the minority Turkish Cypriot population.
Although not necessarily a mistake, Makarios felt compelled to seek support from the Soviets which caused the Americans to panic at a very crucial time during the cold war. They feared that the Soviets may gain too much influence over NATO's "unsinkable aircraft carrier".

Greek / Turkish Cypriot

I feel that it's quite important at this point to clarify the terms Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. Because of all the divisions caused between the two different communities in Cyprus, there are some who really don't like the terms Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot preferring to identify simply as Cypriot. However, in attempting to understand the Islands socio-political make up, it does make it easier to distinguish between the communities in such a way that Greek Cypriot means someone who speaks Greek, is Greek Orthodox, cooks Greek style food, and barracks for the Greek soccer team in the world cup, and Turkish Cypriot as someone who speaks Turkish, is Muslim, and barracks for the Turkish soccer team.


  • At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ok basically im turkish cypriot and u are australlian and therefore dont no much i can see by reading ur blog..
    firstly turks duidnt invade they came to proteect cyprus from the greeeks the turks could of take the whole island but attaturk stopped knowing he had defeated hgreeks mentally..

  • At 4:45 AM, Blogger Scott said…

    I may be Australian, but my partner is Cypriot (from the Greek side), and her father (who most of this information came from) is also Greek Cypriot. Turkey did invade the Northern part of Cyprus in 1973 (read the history books), as you rightly say to protect the the interests of the Turkish Cypriots living there from the perceived possibility of persecution under a Cyprus unified with Greece. Having said this, the argument of the book I was reading was that this tension was a stirred up by the US and Britain who did not want to loose their interests (military bases) in Cyprus. The invasion was a carefully engineered divide and conquer strategy.


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