The 1878 Cyprus Convention and what followed
By the Groovy Historian……..
Hey there, this is the groovy historian : In this Vodcast I will be talking about the Cyprus Convention of 1878 between Britain and Turkey and how the island and its politics changed In 1947 when the British Governor, in accordance with the British Government’s declaration on colonial policy, published proposals for greater self-government. They were rejected in favour of the slogan “ENOSIS” union with Greece.
In 1955 Georgios Grivas, a Cypriot who had served as an officer in the Greek army, began a concerted campaign for Enosis. His national organization of Cypriot struggle “EOKA” bombed public buildings and attacked and killed both Greek Cypriot and British opponents of Enosis.
Following this self-government was proposed in 1956, but all of the proposals were rejected and the attacks continued. Archbishop Makarios III, supported the national aspirations of the Greek Cypriots and was deported to the Seychelles.
He was released from exile in March 1957 and made his headquarters in Athens. By that time the operations of EOKA had been reduced, but the Turkish Cypriot minority, led by Fazıl Küçük, expressed alarm and demanded either retrocession to Turkey or partition. Public opinion in Greece and Turkey rallied in support of the two communities, respectively; riots ensued, and Greek residents were expelled from Turkey. Despite mediation by the United Nations, the two sides reached no solution.
According to the terms of the treaties, the new republic would not participate in a political or economic union with any other state, nor would it be subject to partition. Greece, Turkey, and Britain guaranteed the independence, integrity, and security of the republic, and Greece and Turkey agreed to respect the integrity of the areas remaining under British sovereignty. In December 1959 Makarios was elected president and Küçük vice president, both of whom could exercise a veto in matters relating to security, defense, and foreign affairs. Turkish Cypriots, who made up less than one-fifth of the population, were to represent three-tenths of the civil service and two-fifths of the army and to elect three-tenths of the House of Representatives, and a joint Greek and Turkish military headquarters was also to be established.
The first general election took place in July 1960 and 35 seats were taken by the Greek Cypriots and 15 seats were taken by Turkish Cypriots and Cyprus became a republic on August 16, 1960, and was admitted as a member of the UN. The British government agreed to provide financial assistance over a period of five years, and Cyprus gained membership in the Commonwealth in March 1961.
The long-standing conflict between the Greek Cypriot majority and the Turkish Cypriot minority intensified following independence and Makarios proposed 13 amendments to Küçük in late 1963. These were rejected by the Turkish government and the Turkish Cypriots, and fighting broke out between the two Cypriot communities. As a result, the area controlled by the Turkish Cypriots was reduced to a few enclaves, and Nicosia was divided by a cease-fire line—known as the Green Line. In March 1964 the UN Security Council agreed to send to Cyprus a multinational peacekeeping force, the mandate of which was extended as the conflict continued. In 1964 the Turkish air force intervened after intensified fighting broke out in the northwest. Contingents of troops and officers from Greece and Turkey were taken into the island clandestinely to command and train the forces raised by the two communities. Grivas, returned from Greece to command the Greek Cypriot National Guard. In 1967 an incident led to a Turkish ultimatum to Greece, backed by the threat of intervention. The military junta then ruling Greece complied by withdrawing the mainland contingents and General Grivas. An uneasy peace ensued, but intercommunal talks failed to produce a solution.
Makarios was re-elected president in 1968 by an overwhelming majority and won again in 1973. Although he had been a leader in the campaign for Enosis, many Greek Cypriots and mainland Greeks believed that as president, he was content with Cyprus’s independence. Angered, dissidents tried to assassinate Makarios in 1970 and 1973,
On July 15, 1974, a detachment of the National Guard, led by officers from mainland Greece, launched a coup to assassinate Makarios and establish Enosis. They demolished the presidential palace, but Makarios escaped. A former EOKA member, Nikos Sampson, was proclaimed president of Cyprus. Five days later Turkish forces landed at Kyrenia to overthrow Sampson’s government. They were met by vigorous resistance, but the Turks were successful in establishing a bridgehead around Kyrenia and linking it with the Turkish sector of Nicosia. On July 23 Greece’s junta fell, and a democratic government under Konstantinos Karamanlis took power. At the same time, Sampson was replaced in Cyprus by Glafcos Clerides, who as president of the House of Representatives automatically succeeded the head of state in the latter’s absence. As required by treaty, the three guarantor powers—Britain, Greece, and Turkey—met for discussions in Geneva, but the Turkish advance continued until mid-August. By that time Turkey controlled roughly the northern third of the island. In December Makarios returned and resumed the presidency, and a few months later Turkish leaders proclaimed a Turkish Federated State of Cyprus under Rauf Denktash as president. Since that time the boundary between the two has existed until today.
What is amazing is that the Greek and Turkish peoples of Cyprus have lived side by side and share so much culture and traditions and it is only since the quest for Enosis started that they have become separated and I wonder can they come together again?
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