The long-term Turkish policy on Cyprus
Ataturk himself, who lay down the policy of modern Turkey and is considered by the Turks as their national hero, regarded Cyprus as being particularly important for Turkey. Professor Dervis Manizade in an article in the Istanbul daily "Milliyet" (7.20.78) quoted Attaturk as saying while addressing military commanders:
"Pay attention to Cyprus, this island is important to us."
Ali Nesim reported in "Dogus" (9.20.84):
"Ataturk, replying to a question on Cyprus after the annexation of Alexandretta said: The turn of Cyprus has not yet come."
In 1954, nine years before intercommunal conflict broke out in 1963, the then Foreign Minister of Turkey F. Koprufu, declared that Cyprus is an "extention of continental Turkey", and that it should revert to Turkey "on the basis of geographical proximity."
At the tripartite conference on Cyprus in August-September 1955, the then Turkish Foreign Minister, Zorlu, stated:
"...The importance of Cyprus to Turkey does not arise from a single cause; it is a necessity which emanates from the exigencies of history, geography, economy and military strategy, from the right to existence and security, which is the most sacred of every state, in short, from the very nature of things."
The Turkish journalist and historian A. Gurkan, more recently in "Kibris Postasi" (12.20.83) put it quite succintly when he said:
"Speaking from a purely strategic point of view we could say that for Turkey's security, a safe Cyprus is a Cyprus which would be, in its entirety, under Turkish control."
But what makes Turkish expansionism even more evident are the following statements:
By Gunes (former Turkish Foreign Minister) which reads:
"Cyprus is as precious as the right arm of a country which cares for her defence or her expansionist aims if she harbours any. If we don't keep in mind this strategic importance of Cyprus, we cannot understand the peace operation of 20 July or rather it is impossible to understand the whole Cyprus crisis...
Many states, to a certain extent because it suits their interest, want to see the Cyprus problem merely as our desire to protect the Turkish community on the island. Whereas the actual problem is the security of 45 million Turks in the motherland together with the Turks in the island and the maintenance of the balance in the Middle East."
By Ozal, (...) Prime Minister of Turkey who, referring to the UDI (NB. unilateral declaration of independence of the occupied part) of November 1983, said:
"Cyprus is an island which pierces the middle of Turkey like a dagger. It is extremely vital from the viewpoint of our security. This island should not be in enemy hands. The existence of the Turks in northern Cyprus is a guarantee in this direction."
The Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash himself who stated ("Milliyet" 7.23.85)
"Naturally Turkey has strategic interests in Cyprus. It is fortunate for Turkey that the Turkish Cypriot community exists here. Even if the Turkish Cypriot community did not exist, Turkey would not have left Cyprus to Greece.
Mr. Koruturk told me something which is very important. The honorable President had told me: "If Cyprus passes to Greece and is militarized, then Turkey ceases to be a maritime nation". This is an extremely important factor."
More recently, Professor Kuran delivering the closing speech at a symposium organised on the general theme of "Turkey's problems" on 2nd February 1986 referred to the continuing presense of the Turkish troops on part of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus...:
"They say that we do not covet the territories lying outside our nation's sovereign territory. This is wrong. All the nations have their great ideology. In that case, what is the Turkish army seeking in Cyprus? Cyprus does not lie within the frontiers of our national territory."
The Turkish prime Minister himself, in a number of recent statements, left no doubt about Turkey's real aims regarding Cyprus. In an interview with the "International Herald Tribune" (6.2.86) Mr. Ozal said:
"The island had never been Greek in its history. It belonged to the Venetians and then was taken over by the Ottomans. Later the british came. I believe that it was during the Ottoman period and later under the British rule that the Greeks immigrated to the island. And I said, if you want to the island something, it is more Turkish than Greek. It was governed for many hundreds of years by the Ottomans."
When Turkey sent an officer of the Turkish Army, Riza Vukuskan, to Cyprus to organize the TMT rerrorist organization, she was simply taking the first practical step in a long standing policy aimed at the annexation of Cyprus or at least part of it.
The handy excuse used by Turkey to further her aim of partition was the "oppression" of the Turkish Cypriot minority by the Greek Cypriot majority.
Denktash himself, in an interview to the London "Times" (1.20.78) admits that he had organized the TMT saying:
"I had to create the TMT with some friends in order to coordinate those individuals who were going around doing things."
"I had set up the TMT with a few friends...Everybody thought that I was the leader, but I was not. I was political advisor. Immediately after forming it I handed it over... The leaders were former army officers from Turkey."
Emin Dirvana, then Turkish Ambassador to Cyprus, explains what Denktash means, in an article in "Milliyet" (5.15.64)
"...I was informed that on the 7th of June, 1958, a bomb had been planted in the Turkish Press Office in Nicosia by persons who, as was established later, had nothing to do with the Greek Cypriots. The Turks of Nicosia were then incited (...) and perpetrated acts similar to those committed on the 6th and the 7th of September, 1955 in Istanbul."
In an interview given by Denktash to the British television channel ITV for the programme "Cyprus: Britain's Grim Legacy", he said:
"There was an explosion at the information bureau of the Turkish Consulate. A crowd had already gathered there, a crowd of the Turkish Cypriot community. And they almost immediately decided that Greeks had done it and they were swearing vengeance against the Greeks and so on." "The explosion started a night of riots in Nicosia. Turkish Cypriots burned and looted Greek shops and homes. Soon came counter-attacks and the fighting spread round the island. Later on, a friend of mine, whose name must still be kept secret, was to confess to me that he had put this little bomb in their doorway in order to create an atmosphere of tension so that people would know that Turkish Cypriots mattered."
The climax of the "holy indignation" which Ambassador Dirvana refers to, was the massacre of eight Greek Cypriots and the serious wounding of five, near the village of Geunyeli on 12th June 1958, five days after the explosion.
In an interview to the "London Times" (1.20.78) Denktash said:
"It was now in the late 1950s and there was bitter intercommunal strife. Eventually TMT became more than a military force, it became a moral force."
It's there history therefore no surprises!