Monday, November 26, 2007

democracy, coup, invasion

This post on popular struggles for democracy and the Greek coup against and Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was originally an aside or addendum to the post on the Athens Polytechnic Uprising of the 17th of November 1973, but as with seemingly everything at the moment, it grew so much that I had to attend to it on its own.

(It will be a long time before - if - I ever get to discuss the British government's betrayal of the occupied Greeks' anti-Nazi resistance, ELAS (ΕΛΑΣ (Ελληνικός Λαϊκός Απελευθερωτικός Στρατός (Greek People's Liberation Army))), wherein, according to Daniele Ganser (2005: 213), first, 'former Nazi collaborators and right-wing special units, such as the fascist X Bands of [later EOKA and EOKA-B terrorist] Cypriot soldier George Grivas, with British support started to hunt and kill ELAS resistance fighters', then (because they hadn't killed enough anti-Nazis!), 'Churchill therefore gave orders that a new Greek right-wing secret army had to be set up', which was the LOK (ΛΟΚ (Λόχος Ορεινών Καταδρομών (Mountain Commandos' Company))) that later took part in the massacre of the Athens Polytechnic Uprising.)

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou wanted to solve the Cyprus Problem by enosis (the assimilation of Cyprus into the Greek state). (This was partly because it needed the assent of the government of Cyprus, which would not accept taksim (the partition of the island into Greek and Turkish annexes) and, as Papandreou pointed out, '[i]f we accepted a solution which Cyprus would reject as unjust, [the] situation would deteriorate'.)

US diplomat George Ball (1982) recalled that, '[t]he Turkish Cypriotes demanded partition and the right to govern their own community.... The Turkish government in Ankara supported the Turkish Cypriotes, while putting special emphasis on the preservation of Turkey's right to intervene by force.'

Daniele Ganser (2005: 219) relayed that:
In summer 1964 President Johnson summoned Greek ambassador Alexander Matsas to the White House and told him that the problems in Cyprus had to be solved by dividing the island into a Greek and a Turkish part.

When Matsas refused the plan, Johnson thundered: 'Then listen to me, Mr. Ambassador, Fuck your parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If those two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant's trunk, whacked good.'

The government of Greece, as Johnson insisted, had to follow the orders of the White House. 'We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament and constitution, he, his parliament and his constitution may not last very long.'
As Michael Jansen reported,
A general outline of a deal had been thrashed out during clandestine conversations between Greek and Turkish ministers meeting privately during NATO conferences in the early 1970s.

The deal itself involved the establishment of a Turkish base on the Karpass Peninsula and arrangements for the protection of the Turkish Cypriots while most of the island ­ and the Greek Cypriots who made up 82 percent of the population ­ would be granted union, Enosis, with the Greek motherland....

After the October War [a.k.a. the Arab-Israeli War or the Yom Kippur War] in 1973, the U.S. became increasingly eager to get rid of [Greek Cypriot President Archbishop] Makarios [III] and secure a strategic foothold on the island by installing its Greek and Turkish allies on Cyprus.

Britain had denied Washington the use of Cyprus-based communications facilities which might have enabled the U.S. to warn Israel of the Arabs['] pre-emptive attack. And Washington was not allowed to use British bases as staging posts for resupplying Israel with the weaponry which enabled it to win the war.
(Richard Clogg observed, similarly, that '[t]he Pentagon was particularly anxious to maintain good relations with Greece so as to continue to enjoy base facilities.... [Thus] the negotiation in 1972 of the 'Home Port' agreement, which provided permanent port facilities for the Sixth Fleet in Greece.)
The timing of the coup was crucial. By late 1973, Greek and Turkish Cypriot negotiators had reached a constitutional agreement which would have settled the Cyprus problem within the context of the existing unitary state....

Athens and Ankara took steps to block the accord.
An imminent Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot settlement seems doubtful, unless Jansen meant Michael Moran's parsing of the '"unitary state"' that Makarios wanted in 1964, 'in which they [the Turkish Cypriots] would have been reduced to a "protected minority". In fact... an utterly unprotected minority' (which Makarios appeared still to want, in 1971, at least).

Makarios had lost his earlier desire for union with Greece (enosis), because of the rise of the junta in Greece and the infiltration of its paramilitaries into Cyprus, where they tried to assassinate him (and because of the price of enosis in practice - the partition of the island).

All the Cyprus Conflict was willing to say, however, was that, 'the parties were never very far apart on significant issues; most of what separated them were procedural matters that could have been negotiated, had the will been present for a settlement' - but it wasn't.

William Blum (1995) observed in killing hope: U.S. military and CIA interventions since World War II, that,
[after the Athens Polytechnic Uprising, i]n November 1973, a falling-out within the Greek inner circle culminated in the ousting of Papadopoulos and his replacement by Col. Demetrios Ioannidis, Commander of the Military Police, torturer, graduate of American training in anti-subversive techniques, confidant of the CIA. Ioannidis named as prime minister a Greek-American, A. Androutsopoulos, who came to Greece after the Second World War as an official employee of the CIA, a fact of which Mr. Androutsopoulos had often boasted.
Richard Clogg commented that:
Relations between Cyprus and Greece reached an unprecedented level of tension when on 6 July Archbishop Makarios publicly claimed to have irrefutable evidence of a link between mainland Greek officers of the Cyprus National Guard and the EOKA-B terrorist organisation. The latter had been revived following Grivas' clandestine return to the island in 1971, and its agitation for enosis had continued after his death in January 1974.

Makarios charged that the Athens regime was seeking to destroy the Cyprus state. His demand for the removal of almost all the Greek officers of the National Guard was followed by ten days of mounting tension between Nicosia and Athens. This culminated on 15 July in the launching of a coup against Makarios by the National Guard [directed by the CIA-backed Colonel Ioannidis]. The Greek army contingent on the island joined in the attack on Makarios' supporters and it was abundantly clear that the coup had been inspired from Athens.
Blum judged it 'a fatal miscalculation'.

British Public Records Office documents published in the 7th-13th January 2005 edition of Cyprus Weekly suggest that Britain ran a blockade of the Greek, but not Turkish navy. As Christopher Hitchens evaluated then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: '[h]is decision to do nothing was therefore a direct decision to do something, or to let something be done'.

Indeed, NATO confirmed U.S. backing of both the Greek junta's and the Turkish army's actions, when NATO Secretary-General Thomas Luns stated that: '[w]e agreed with [U.S. Assistant Undersecretary of State] Mr [Joseph John] Sisco for supporting the Turkish army during the landing, as well as, in the violent expulsion of Makarios'.

Moreover, it was recently reaffirmed in the Times Higher Education Supplement, by then British Foreign Secretary Jim Callaghan, when he exposed some of their covert activities in northern Cyprus:
He said that although Britain had sent a task force in 1974, the Americans vetoed any military action that might have deterred Turkey.

He implied that this was because the US did not want to jeopardise its electronic spying facilities in northern Cyprus and admitted the invasion left the US free to continue spying on Russia and the Middle East from a 'state' it did not recognise.

"The Turks were willing to let the Americans carry on operating because their presence was a political safeguard against the Russians," he said.
And it was the Turkish army, not the Turkish government, that the U.S. was working with: '"... the US government was dealing directly with General [Kenan] Evren and circumventing the Turkish government," the former CIA officer said'.

After the initial invasion, when Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit confessed to British Foreign Minister Jim Callaghan that 'Ankara did not always know what was taking place on the island', it was also 'the Turkish Army, feeling itself awkwardly confined in its existing corridor, [which] would not wait' and which broke the ceasefire line to occupy more than 36% of the island.

Nevertheless, as the Cyprus Conflict observed,
it may also be that the [Greek] junta, tottering as it was, would have pursued its reckless course in any case.... [and] it is likely that Turkey would have proceeded anyway. That was in their planning, and they showed no signs of being restrained from something they felt they should have done many years before.

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