One of the gravest cases of human rights violations in the history of humanity was experienced in Cyprus during the period of 1963-1974.
“The Republic of Cyprus” which was established in 1960 by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot peoples in accordance with international Cyprus treaties was based on the equal political status and participation of the two peoples in all organs of state machinery. The Greek Cypriots, however, regarded the establishment of this bi-national Republic as a temporary set-back to their ultimate aim of uniting the island with Greece (ENOSIS).
The first open move in the series of violations of Turkish Cypriot rights in Cyprus came on 30 November 1963 with the then President of the Republic Archbishop Makarios’ attempt to unilaterally amend the unalterable provisions of the Constitution of the Republic through his 13-point memorandum. His proposed amendments, were, in effect, targeted at eliminating all the basic rights of the Turkish Cypriot people and the safeguards entrenched in the Constitution. The ultimate aim was to destroy the bi-national character of the Republic of Cyprus by dissolving it through pre-determined stages and methods and thus achieve ENOSIS.
When the Turkish Cypriot side objected to such an arbitrary amendment of the Constitution, the Turkish Cypriot people became the target of armed attacks in late December 1963. Having resorted to violence, in line with the infamous Akritas plan, the Greek Cypriots usurped the state machinery by force of arms and ousted the Turkish Cypriot members of the Government, including the Turkish Cypriot Vice-President.
During the period of 1963 – 1974, thousands of Turkish Cypriots were killed, wounded or maimed by the Greek Cypriots and 30,000 were uprooted from their homes. Arbitrary arrests, murder, rape, restrictions in freedom of movement, economic blockades and innumerable other hardships became daily occurrences which the Turkish Cypriots had to suffer. The right of the Turkish Cypriots to life, liberty and security of person which undoubtedly constitutes the most fundamental right of any human being, was almost non-existent between the years 1963-74.
The following excerpts from the world press attest to the cold blooded massacres by the Greek Cypriots in anti-Turkish hysteria:
"We went tonight into the sealed-off Turkish quarter of Nicosia in which 200 to 300 people had been slaughtered in the last five days. We are the first Western reporters there and we have seen sights too frightful to be described in print and horrors so extreme that people seemed stunned beyond tears and reduced to a hysterical and mirthless giggle that is more terrible than tears."
(DAILY EXPRESS of 28 December 1963 - Report by Rene Maccoll and Daniel McGeaohie)
"….. A few days ago, 1,000 people lived here, in their solid, stone built homes which hug the coast road to Kyrenia, 13 miles from Nicosia. Then in a night of terror 350 villagers - men, women and children - vanished. They were all Turks".
(DAILY HERALD (London) of 31 December 1963)
The deep-rooted and intense racial enmity felt by the Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots - an enmity which is fed by the Orthodox Church and the nationalists led by gymnasia - has been transformed into a political objective, as was revealed by the late Archbishop Makarios, in a sermon at Panayia village, on 4 September 1962, when he said:
“Unless this small Turkish community forming a part of the Turkish race, which has been the terrible enemy of Hellenism, is expelled, the duty of the heroes of EOKA can never be considered as terminated”
Ten years later in an interview with Karin Kaemmereit, of the German weekly, “BUNTE ILLUSTRIERTE”, Makarios said:
“The union of Cyprus with Greece requires the extermination of the Turkish Cypriot community”.
Between 1963 – 1974, the Turkish Cypriots lost 103 villages and lived in small enclaves corresponding to only 3% of the territory of Cyprus, which they had been forced into by the armed assaults of the Greek Cypriots. For eleven years they had to live under “open-air prison” conditions.
"... thousands of Turkish Cypriots fled from their homes, taking with them only what they could drive or carry and sought refuge in what they considered to be safer Turkish Cypriot villages and areas."
(Report of the UN Secretary-General S/8286
of 8 December 1967)
"In Cyprus the terror continues. Right now we are witnessing the exodus of Turks from villages. Thousands of people are abandoning their homes, lands, herds: Greek terrorism is relentless. This time the rhetoric of the Hellenes and the busts of Plato do not suffice to cover-up their barbaric and ferocious behaviour".
(IL GIORNO of 14 January 1964 -
Report by Giorgio Bocca)
The Greek engineered coup d’etat of 15 July 1974 constituted the culmination of Greek Cypriot efforts to unite the island with Greece and represented the final phase of a genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Greek Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots were relieved from this agony only by the ensuing Turkish intervention, carried out in accordance with Turkey’s rights and obligations vested in the Treaty of Guarantee signed in 1960. However, until the Turkish troops were able to consolidate their positions and provide security for the Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots in anti-Turkish frenzy massacred Turkish Cypriots. Mass graves were later discovered at Ayvasil (Ayios Vasilios), Murataga (Maratha), Sandallar (Sandallaris) and Atlilar (Aloa).
The then US Under-Secretary of State, Mr. George W. Ball, in his memoirs ‘The Past Has Another Pattern’ had this to say, from his personal experiences, concerning events in Cyprus during that period:
“Makarios’ central interest was to block off Turkish intervention so that he and his Greek Cypriots could go on happily butchering Turkish Cypriots.”
“… the Greek Cypriots… do not want a peace keeping force; they just want to be left alone to kill Turkish Cypriots.”
Turkey’s timely and lawful intervention, which prevented the illegal annexation of Cyprus by Greece, put an end to the bloodshed and prevented the total extermination of the Turkish Cypriot people.