Cyprus Mail is a great English-language daily newspaper/website. Cyprus mail has allowed a Disqus section in their comments section which has allowed some Turk nationalist trolls using aliases and multiple accounts to blame the Greek Cypriots on a daily basis regarding the ongoing Cyprus problem. Some of these people are paid trolls. Unfortunately, the Turks in the ‘TRNC’ or Turkish Daily News English edition don’t allow the same on their websites. Let’s put things in a historical perspective from a Greek Cypriot perspective.
Greek traders started arriving in Cyprus around 1400 BC. A major wave of Greek settlement took place following the Bronze Age from 1100 to 1050 BC, forming the island’s predominantly Greek character dating from this period. In 1570, the Ottoman Turks invaded Cyprus with 60,000 troops and massacred 20.000 Christian inhabitants mainly Greek Cypriots and thousands of women and boys were sold as slaves something that the Turkish Nationalists refuse to mention.
From 1570 to 1878 under Ottoman Turkish rule Greek Cypriots enjoying certain autonomy as long as they paid their taxes. In 1878 The Ottoman Turks gave up their rights to Cyprus and the British took control.
Under former British colonial rule most Greek Cypriots desired enosis or union with Greece, the Turks also wanted Taksim (separation). The Turkish Cypriots also viewed themselves as a distinct ethnic group of the island and believed in having a separate right to self-determination from the Greek Cypriots.
In the 1950s Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes considered Cyprus an extension of Turkey and rejected the partition of Cyprus along ethnic lines and favoured the annexation of the whole island to Turkey. Upon realising the fact that the Turkish Cypriot population was only 20% of the population the national policy was changed to partition.
Let’s look at the historical casualty figures regarding both communities which are freely available on the Internet.
EOKA Years 1955-1959
UK soldiers and UK civilians 142 dead
Turkish Cypriots 84 dead
Greek Cypriots- 278 dead
Intercommunal violence 1963-1964
364 Turkish Cypriots dead or missing
174 Greek Cypriots dead or missing
The destruction of 109 Turkish Cypriot or mixed villages and displacement of 25,000–30,000 Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish invasion of Cyprus of 1974
40.000 Turkish troops invaded Northern Cyprus who took control over 37% of the land
The displacement of 200.000 Greek Cypriots from Northern Cyprus
1,500-3,500 casualties Turkish troops, Turkish Cypriots and those missing
4,500–6,000 casualties Greek Cypriot troops, Greek Cypriot civilians and those missing
The other sore point of contention regarding the Turkish Cypriots is the word “Minority” Prior to the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus the Turkish Cypriots accounted for 18% of the population. Yet the Turks contradict themselves by calling the Kurds who are also 18% of Turkey’s population a minority (Google minorities in Turkey)
Since the 1974 Turkish invasion Turkey has brought over 160.000 mainland Turks in their bid to change the demographics. The most recent population estimate at the TRNC puts the population at around 350.000.and only half are the original Turkish Cypriots. On the Greek side the 2011 Census showed 848.000 people in the South of which 667.00O are Greek Cypriots. In other words 667.000 Greek Cypriots to 175.000 Turkish Cypriots.
We hear from some of the Turk nationalists trolls that frequent Cyprus mail on a daily basis that the TRNC will get International recognition. Since declaring their de-facto independence in 1983 only Turkey has recognised them (what does this say?)
Putting all this aside and moving forward there are a few solutions to the Cyprus problem for both sides. There needs to be a referendum on both sides to gauge what the people want instead of both sides playing Political mind games on a daily basis.
Two questions should be asked
- One Cyprus for all Cypriots (Swiss model) one nationality, two official languages a new flag a new constitution and future NATO membership as the best guarantee for security given Cyprus ‘proximity.
- An agreed two state solution with some minor land adjustments