The Famagusta Gazette
Foreign Office documents, released on Thursday concerning ex-British colonies, confirm that Turkey’s objective in Cyprus has always been the island’s division.
The documents contain extensive references to British scenarios on how to achieve this objective.
UK Permanent Representative to the UN Pierson Dixon writes in a letter to the Foreign Office on June 21, 1957, that the UN would make it very difficult for London to apply partition.
Such a policy, he added, would face great difficulties without US support.
In another letter that was brought to light, Cyprus Deputy Governor George Sinclair writes to Governor John Harding on potential solutions on the island, prior to a May 1957 meeting at Governor’s House.
Sinclair refers to a Turkish proposal, providing for a majority of Greek Cypriots living under Turkish rule in a “Turkish sector” and a Turkish Cypriot minority living under Greek rule in a “Greek sector”.
It was noted that this arrangement, however, would allow 4/5 of the population, consisting of “hostile Greeks” to remain in an area of great military significance for Turkey.
If the island were divided right away between Greeks and Turks, leaving only some pockets of British sovereignty, the document continues, the relocation of the population would create problems. The difference in such an eventuality would be that Greece and Turkey would have the responsibility to find an arrangement. The UK’s responsibility in such a case would be to ensure that Athens and Ankara agree on the dividing lines.
Another document says that Turkish Cypriot leader Fazil Kucuk noted after a meeting with Turkey’s Foreign Minister on January 16, 1957, that the Turkish Cypriot community would not agree to anything but partition.
Moreover, Colonial Secretary John Reddaway confirms on June 29, 1957, that the Turkish government opposed a unitary state in Cyprus and expressed his belief that the British government shared, in principle, a partition-based solution.
The documents show that the US has asked the late Archbishop Makarios, who later on was elected first President of Cyprus, to renounce violence during the armed EOKA struggle.
According to the documents, the US Ambassador in Athens at the time met Makarios on May 3, 1957, who was returning to Cyprus from exile in Seychelles, and asked him to renounce violence, inviting him to adopt an approach, more compatible with his religious capacity.
More documents reveal that the British were thinking of allowing Makarios to return from Athens to Cyprus and place him under solitary confinement at the Stavrovouni Monastery, in Larnaca District.
The documents also suggest that the British were short of interrogators during the EOKA armed struggle in the mid 1950s and were thinking of employing people from Turkey. According to a relevant document, in May 1956 there were only five interrogators while 21 were needed.
Moreover, released documents indicate that the possibility of Cyprus joining NATO was raised during consultations on the membership of Greece and Turkey to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in September 1951.
During the same period, British commander of Allied forces in the Middle East General Robertson briefed Cyprus Governor on the possibility of transferring the British headquarters to Cyprus.
The Governor appears to have disagreed with this option, due to the cost it entailed.
The documents contain references to General Georgios Grivas, leader of EOKA, following the capture of EOKA fighters and the discovery of Grivas’ personal belongings.
Cyprus Governor Harding, in a letter to the Colonial Office informed London that in case of capturing Grivas, dead or alive, a smear campaign would follow, presenting him as a ruthless mercenary who brought to Cyprus the most extreme elements of Greek civil war.
Harding added that he would also try to project Makarios’ handling of the Cyprus question as rather inefficient, and as a man who chose a bully as his main aide and put at risk the entire Greek Orthodox Church.