By Loucas Charalambous
OPINIONS expressed by this column on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the start of inter-communal clashes, were bound to provoke some reactions. In this country it is considered treason when you mention truths that contradict our official myths.
One of the arguments used to support the myth of the ‘Turkish revolt’ was the content of a document written on September 14, 1963 and which, according to the late Glafcos Clerides, was found in the office of Fasil Kuchuk (not Rauf Dentash as someone had claimed). I want to write a couple of things about this.
That the Turkish Cypriots had started preparing for the possibility of armed conflict is not doubted by anyone, not even the Turkish Cypriots. But no informed person could deny that their preparations – proved by the document itself – commenced two years after the late Archbishop Makarios had set up the Akritas organisation and begun his campaign to overturn the London-Zurich agreements.
When there is a quarrel, the responsibility belongs to the one who started it, even if he ends up losing it. It is also worth noting that when reference is made to this document by our side, the practice is for excerpts to be mentioned in isolation and for selective phrases to be cited, something which creates a distorted picture.
This is not right. It is quite clear from the content of the document that the plans had been drawn up in direct response to Makarios’ ongoing efforts to annul the provisions of the constitution that were favourable to the Turkish Cypriots and his preparations for armed conflict.
The Turkish Cypriots planned to implement these plans if Makarios went to extremes.
This qualification was mentioned at five different places in the document. It was along the following lines: “As Makarios is preparing for unilateral actions we must react; if Makarios does this, we will do that; if Makarios does that, we will do this.” What was mentioned at the end of the document was very instructive.
It said, “the Greeks will give us many opportunities with their behaviour.” They knew us well.
In contrast to the Turkish Cypriot plan – shown as a response to our actions – the Akritas plan make it crudely obvious in a total of 16 points that the objective was the overturning of the agreements through unilateral acts, with tricks for justifying them also included.
Nowhere is it mentioned, not even once, that its objective was to confront a possible ‘revolt’ by the Turkish Cypriots.
This was also confirmed by Clerides who, referring to conversations he had with Makarios, wrote that he embarked on a course of confrontation and that his objective was not establishment of the right to self-determination and Enosis (as he had told the men he recruited to Akritas), but the abolition of the rights given to the Turkish Cypriots because he considered them excessive.
These are the truths that our prejudices do not allow us to see.
To witness this mentality in our politicians is not surprising, but it is disappointing to see journalists adopt it, especially those who worked for many years at Simerini, which has on its mast-head the saying of Rigas Fereos that “Whoever thinks freely, thinks well.” Fereos had also said that “the people should learn to consider as national, whatever is true.”
One example was the placing of a bomb at the bust of the EOKA hero Markos Drakos, on December 3, 1963 by the Akritas recruits, on the instructions of minister Polycarpos Yiorkadjis (the intention was to blame this on Turkish Cypriots). This is a fact, confirmed by one of the people involved – a national truth, as Fereos would say.
But none of our politicians and almost none of our journalists has dared to write this truth.
Fereos’ sayings, it appears, are only good as slogans on the mast-heads of newspapers.