HARRY SCOTT GIBBONS
Harry Scott Gibbons is a journalist. He served in the Middle East, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and the
United States and is the author of the book The Genocide Files, published by Charles Bravos,
For several years following the publication of my book, The Genocide Files, I have been repeatedly
asked for my opinion on how the Cyprus problem can be solved, meaning: ‘What was the future of
Until now, I have always answered along these lines:
The Cyprus problem was solved in July 1974, when the Turkish Armed Forces intervened in the
vicious civil war that followed a covert Greek invasion and an Athens inspired and led coup that
deposed the president. This intervention - which was legal under the terms of the Treaty of
Guarantee, which is firmly embedded in the Cyprus Constitution - brought the civil war to an end,
overturned the coup and thus forestalled enosis (union with Greece), which the coup leaders later
said they intended to declare and which was another act specifically forbidden under the
I have then been asked why, after the separation of the two races led in 1983 to the establishment of
the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, no country except Turkey recognised the validity of the
new country. I have always replied that it would be only a matter of time. There was, I said, a de
facto recognition; Northern Cyprus was a reality, not simply a dream like enosis was for the Greeks.
It had a democratically elected president, government and parliament and there had been no
‘inter-communal fighting’, as the Greeks always described their attacks on the Turks, since the 1974
intervention. And one day, I said, the de jure recognition would surely come without the need for any
drastic change in the workings of this independent, quiet and peaceful little country.
A side effect of the intervention was to allow the return to power of the legally elected president,
I do not believe the archbishop ever thanked Turkey for this munificence,
instead demanding till the day of his death the expulsion of the Turkish Cypriots from the safe haven
the intervention had given them, perhaps extending the maxim, ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’ to
‘Beware also of bestowing gifts on Greeks’.
The intervention gave Turkish Cypriots the northern third of the island and an exchange of
populations, that the Greek Cypriots agreed to, confirmed the acceptance of the existence of two
distinct entities - each inhabited by its own race and each with its own religion and language. It was a de facto ethnic safe haven for the Turks of Cyprus.
But hardly had the ink dried on this agreement - signed on the Greek side by the present President of
Greek Cyprus, Glafcos Clerides - than the Greek Cypriots showed once again that they will not abide
by any agreement that does not suit their plans for their own future.
When Makarios, the spearhead of the terrorist organisation EOKA, which had for years murdered
Britons, Turks and Greeks alike in its ambition to end Britain’s colonial occupation and unite the
island with Greece, signed up to a constitution for the establishment of a new Cyprus republic, he
agreed to give up for ever his single-minded quest for enosis.
But, as soon as the republic was born in 1960, the Greeks began calling for the constitution’s
amendment, with the specific purpose of declaring the forbidden enosis.
Unfortunately for this plan,
the Turkish Cypriots had been given specific safeguards that would ensure their equality with the
Greeks and remove all physical threats to their survival (threats which enosis would certainly
impose). Among these safeguards was the power of the veto invested in the Turks. Therefore, in
Greek eyes, the Constitution simply had to go.
During the night of 20-21 December 1963, the Greeks launched a series of attacks on Turks
throughout the Nicosia area.
The combined forces of uniformed Greek Cypriot police and civilian
EOKA gunmen began systematically to murder Turks and arrest and disarm Turkish policemen. At
the same time, the Greek Cypriots took complete control of the Cyprus government information
organisation and announced that the ‘legal’ authorities were putting down a Turkish uprising.
Within days, Turkish civil servants throughout the island had been ousted from their positions and
Greeks now ran the entire governmental administration. Armed EOKA thugs physically prevented
the vice-president, a Turk, Dr Fazõl Küçük, from entering his office. But, at ground level, the Greek
actions seemed so haphazard that although it quickly became obvious the attack on the Turks was
premeditated, the extent of the planning was not fully discovered until April 1966, when a Greek
Cypriot newspaper, Patris, gave details of what has become known as the Akritas Plan. This was the
first exercise in ethnic cleansing - racial extermination or genocide, as I prefer to call it - the
Makarios government undertook.
The object of this ethnic cleansing, as the Akritas Plan explained, was to prepare for the amendment
of the Constitution in such a way as to allow the government to legally - in its eyes at least - unite the
island with Greece, the Greek Cypriot ‘Motherland’. In the plan, there were details given on how to
provoke the Turks into taking up arms against the government so that the ‘legal’ forces of the state
could be empowered to crush what would be called a Turkish revolt, expel all Turks from the police
and every other government institution, seal off the Turkish population in enclaves throughout the
island, and pronounce a fait accompli before Christmas 1963. The Akritas Plan envisaged that the
Western world would be too preoccupied with Christmas festivities to interfere in time to prevent
enosis. Further, not only would the speed of events take Turkey by surprise, but Turkey would also
be unable to call a meeting of the two other Guarantor Powers, Britain and Greece, who together
were pledged to keep Cyprus independent, in time to prevent the island’s union with Greece.
Patris claimed that Makarios had personally organised the entire scheme and had made the military
preparations himself. The paper wrote, “Makarios entrusted Yorgadjis [Polycarpos Yorgadjis, former
EOKA gunman and now Minister of the Interior] who took the code name of Akritas, with the task of establishing the organisation.
The Minister of Labour, Tassos Papadopoulos, was appointed
deputy chief of the organisation, and Glafcos Clerides [then Speaker of the 50-member Cyprus
parliament] became the Chief of Operations.” Clerides is now, of course, President of the Greek
South Cyprus and recognised by the world as the president of the whole island.
What became known as the Christmas War or, in the Turkish version, Bloody Christmas, was
actually the Akritas Plan for genocide. There was bloody slaughter of the Turks and the Greeks also
paid a terrible penalty in deaths and injuries when the Turkish fighters hit back, but the Greeks’ aim,
enosis, was not realised.
I believe I had a part in wrecking this plan. I was based in Cyprus at that time as the Middle East
correspondent of the London Daily Express and had arrived back from an assignment in Africa the
day before the shooting began.
In fact, I was having dinner in a Nicosia restaurant and heard the first
shots ring out.
I sent a report on this to my newspaper and gave more details the following day. The result was that
the foreign press poured in, swamping the cable office and telephone lines with reports of Greek
atrocities. The success of the Akritas Plan was based on suffocating all Turkish protest and keeping
the operation as secret as possible while enosis was arranged. Now the whole world knew what was
going on and, while the fierce fighting continued, the element of surprise had been lost. Christmas
came and went, by which time the three Guarantor Powers had become involved, as had the United
Nations, and enosis was not achieved.
But, as I said, the Akritas Plan for Genocide, was not known for years. In the interval, the now
famous Green Line was drawn across the capital city, Nicosia, to protect the Turkish quarter, a
United Nations peace force arrived, Makarios received a slap on the wrist and was told to behave
himself and the world’s press left. I was sent to Istanbul for a year, after which I quit newspaper
work for a time to write a book on the ongoing war in the Yemen.
The bloodshed continued on the island for 11 years after that Christmas, but the world had now lost
interest. Those 11 years were hell on earth for the Turkish Cypriots, starved, hounded from pillar to
post by the now all-Greek authorities, and pursued by the emergent Greek Cypriot National Guard
led by mainland Greek officers.
And, where they had owned 35 percent of the land, mostly the best
agricultural acreage, they were now squeezed into three percent of it, spread across the island in tiny
The Greeks of Cyprus had attempted genocide against their fellow citizens, the Turks, and had
failed. 11 years later, they tried again.
The Cyprus Turks were still in bondage, deprived of their human rights, surviving on handouts from
the Turkish government, their lives with no apparent future. Makarios, meanwhile, had quarrelled
with the Greek generals’ new junta, which had replaced the Colonels’ junta that had ruled Greece
from 1967 to 1973. The result of this was that, while Makarios, Clerides, et al. were preparing the
second, definitive, Final Solution of the Turkish Problem, namely another genocide offensive, the
Athens junta led by General Dimitrios Ioannides was preparing to solve its Makarios Problem.
The second genocide attempt, as it was later revealed, was due to begin some time after 10 July
1974, the actual date not specified. Athens was totally involved in this plan as documents captured
later were to prove, but the contentious attitude of Makarios apparently made them decide to take over and execute it themselves. The result, as I wrote in my book, was in Makarios and General
Ioannides seeking to best each other in deviousness, ending with a plot, not from within, but hastily
slammed on top of another plot, a Byzantine cocktail with a squeeze of Machiavelli, a recipe for a
brutal, gory debacle.
On 15 July 1974, the Greek Cypriot National Guard and an army of Greek mainland troops, who had
been smuggled in without the knowledge of Makarios, staged a successful coup in Nicosia. Blowing
up the presidential palace outside the city walls, the death of Makarios was announced and a new
president, the EOKA killer, Nicos Sampson, a long-time friend of General Ioannides, was installed.
Sampson immediately attempted to allay any fears the Cyprus Turks may have (with good reason)
been entertaining, promising they would be unharmed. I wondered about this at the time, unaware
that the plan for their extermination was based, like the 1963 version, on secrecy.
But, Makarios had not died in his palace. He escaped unscathed, managed to make a radio broadcast
calling on his supporters to oust his usurpers and the civil war began. Not only had the military coup
breached the Constitution, but all over the country Greeks were killing Greeks, and the slaughter
begun to include innocent Turkish families fleeing to safety.
After five days, during which some 2000 uniformed and civilian Greeks died, the Turkish armed
forces intervened. The landings and their success have been fully recorded elsewhere - including in
my book - but here I want to expose the true facts of the second act of genocide.
With the Turkish army on the north of the island was a Greek-speaking liaison officer, Turkish
Cypriot fighter Erol Fehim. As his unit moved west of Kyrenia, they came across several hastily
abandoned Greek army camps. In the camps they found documents, signed and stamped by the
military, giving complete instructions for the obliteration of the Turkish Cypriot population. When
Erol Fehim read them, he found he was holding in his hands a plan code named Iphestos [Volcano]
These were the genocide files.
Erol Fehim has translated some of them for me, and I found them horrifying. They detail the
enclaves and villages to be ‘cleansed’. Even the sleepy little village of Templos, now Zeytinlik,
where, in the sanctuary of Ottoman House, I wrote the Genocide Files and studied these documents,
was to be wiped out.
Every detail of the extermination plans is revealed, the villages to be wiped out with their
inhabitants, the units assigned to specific areas and tasks, and even where to bury the Turkish
corpses, it is all there.
It is frightening reading, and perhaps the most frightening thing of all is the
revelation that the Greek Cypriot civilian population was to be organised and brainwashed into
joining in the slaughter.
The Genocide Files that I have had translated are only a small part of the mass of instructions sent
out to the Greek Cypriot National Guard during the months leading up to the Greek coup d’état. But,
these particular ones deal with the area where they were captured, from Kyrenia, north of Nicosia, to
Morphou Bay, in the north-west of the island.
After reading them, it becomes apparent that Greek Cypriot assertions that the coup had nothing to
do with the Turkish Cypriots were ludicrous.
In view of the fact that these files show clearly that Greece and the Greek Cypriots intended to wipe out the Turkish Cypriots, their protestations - kept
up to this day - that no harm was intended to the Turks must be one of the most monstrous, pitiless,
callous, cynical lies I have ever come across.
Only in the Serb-Bosnia conflict 20 years later is there a comparison. When Serb shells were fired
deliberately into crowded Moslem market places and other busy centres, even a cemetery where a
funeral was taking place, blowing innocent civilians to pieces, the Serb propaganda machine
immediately claimed the Bosnian Moslems had fired the shots, murdering their own people to gain
sympathy from the rest of the world!
How do humans become like this? Was God looking the other way when these people were created?
Those involved, or to be involved, in the extermination plans are detailed in the document with the
File number 216/5/296, dated 7 March 1974.
It was issued by the National Guard’s 3rd High Military
Tactical Command in Nicosia and signed by its commander, Mikhael Georgitses.
The plans stated clearly that the Greek Cypriot population was to be “organised” to assist the Greek
Cypriot National Guard in “cleansing” designated villages of their Turkish inhabitants. Greek
women and children were to be kept in their homes, but should they decide to flee any consequent
fighting, the Greek Cypriot Ministries of Interior, Defence and Labour were made responsible for
providing shelter, food and other necessities for them.
The Ministry of Health was to take care of
their physical well being.
So the entire Greek Cypriot population was to be mobilised to take part in genocide, the murder of
Turks, their fellow citizens for over 400 years, throughout the whole island.
Iphestos 1974 was described as an Internal Security (SEA) operation. It was not being done in the
guise of warding off an attack by Turkey.
In fact, Turkey was not mentioned. This was to be purely
an internal affair, the business of no outside party, something between Cypriots alone. The Greek
Cypriots would kill; the Turkish Cypriots would die. As simple as that.
Commander Haralambos Hios of the National Guard had sent his orders to the following units: the
256th and 276th Infantry Battalions, the 222nd, 261st, 306th, 316th, 321st, 366th and 391st Reserve
Battalions, the 183rd Field Artillery Battalion, the 173rd and 190th Anti-tank Artillery Battalions,
the 47th Communications Company and other reserve forces.
These in turn passed on their instructions to the units under their command, giving the names of the
Turkish areas to be ‘cleansed’.
A typical example is the instruction, File No. 210/11/61, sent out on 12 June 1974 by the 256th
Infantry Battalion from its headquarters at Dhiorios (now Tepebaşõ) near Myrtou (Çamlõbel), some
17 miles west of Kyrenia.
The introduction to the order is more or less identical in all the other orders sent out.
“The initiative to begin the operations is undertaken by the General Staff of the National Guard
(GEEF) with the approval of the Cyprus Government and the Headquarters of the AED [Greek
mainland Armed Forces].”
Right from the start, the genocide operation was shown to be a joint one with the military High
Command in Athens. It may have been called Internal Security but it was plainly masterminded by
and with a lot of help from Greece.
The entire genocide programme was to be carried out “with the approval of the Cyprus
At that time, 1974, the Cyprus government was of course, all-Greek, and was therefore illegal under
the terms of the 1960 Constitution. But, illegal or not, it was the recognised government of the
island. So, this government, recognised by the United Nations and the whole world, had given its
approval to the ‘cleansing’ of a fifth of its people.
Under the headline ‘Mission’, the directive explained:
“Part of the mission is to prepare the Greek Cypriot population psychologically and to organise them
and the police for their wider participation in the cleansing of the Turkish Cypriot enclaves and
pockets, using every means available (weapons etc). These are to be used by each Company as
necessary or as needed for each operation.”
The language and style are typically stilted military, but the meaning is brutally clear.
“Attack at night, silently, without using lights, as quickly as possible, for the cleansing of the Lefka
[Lefke] enclave and the pockets of Ayia Irini [now Akdeniz], Kazivera [Gaziveren], Elia [Doğancõ]
and Angolemi [Taşpõnar].”
These villages spread in a line from Lefke, just south of Soli, to Myrtou, covering the rich farmlands
along the south and east of Morphou Bay (now Güzelyurt Bay).
Lefke, with a population of around 4,000, has been a Turkish stronghold since 1570, 200 years
before the United States of America was created. It lies between Morphou Bay and the arid northern
foothills of the Troodos mountains. Its citrus orchards and date palm groves have been famous for
centuries. Two perennial rivers ran for centuries from the Troodos through the Lefke plain to the
bay. In the past few years, however, Greek South Cyprus has interrupted much of this flow by means
of dams. Nevertheless, Lefke still has enough water to be able to send supplies by truck tankers to
drought-hit areas as distant as Famagusta on the east coast.
Lefke would have been a rich spoil of war after its cleansing.
And preparations were to be made immediately “to cut off the electricity supply to the Lefke area
from the sub-station at Peristeronari, the responsibility of the 2nd Company of the 356th Battalion,
when the plan commences.” Peristeronari (now Cengizköy) near Lefke, is not to be confused with
Peristerona, a Greek town south of Morphou. Another file, 210/14/4034 dated March 31 and issued
by the headquarters of the National Guard in Morphou, dealt with this town. It gave instructions to
“keep under observation the pocket of Peristerona, with full preparation to participate in the
cleansing of same.”
The specific units to be used to attack the various Turkish towns were named. For example, the 391st
Reserve Infantry Battalion would destroy Ambelikou (Bağlõköy). Then Lefke, Kokkina (Erenköy)
and Limnitis (Yeşilõrmak) were to be wiped out with artillery supporting fire. The 261st Battalion
would clean up Xerovounos (Kurutepe).
Water supplies were to be cut off to Lefke by the 1st Company of the 356th, by the 2nd Company in
Kazivera, Elia, Angolemi and Kalo Chorio (Çamlõköy), and by the 3rd Company in Ayia Irini.
The Turks of the Kyrenia area were not to be neglected. The File 210/12/76 was issued by the 3rd
High Military Command in Kyrenia on 18 April 1974. The campaign would start, it stated, with the
cleansing of Templos (Zeytinlik), at the western edge of Kyrenia, by the 251st Infantry Battalion.
This force would also wipe out the Turkish quarter of Kyrenia, leaving that important north seaport
entirely in Greek hands.
Then the National Guard, the police and the Greek Cypriot civilian population would move over the
Kyrenia Pass to Aghirda, on the southern slopes of towering St Hilarion, on to Krini (Põnarbaşõ) and
finally Photta (Dağyolu), all just west of the main Nicosia-Kyrenia road, thus isolating the fighters on
Hilarion and putting the Turkish lifeline to Kyrenia at the mercy of Greek artillery and mortars.
The plans for genocide tried to leave nothing to chance. While it was mentioned in the files that it
was unlikely the United Nations Peace Force would intervene - it was a pretty safe assumption, the
UN soldiers having kept as much as possible out of the way of the Greeks for years - the plans called
for UN uniforms to be used to fool their intended Turkish victims.
Under ‘Instructions for Co-ordination’, the 18 April File directed:
“The 2nd and 3rd Bureaux [Intelligence and Operations] of Tactical Group Command should
prepare themselves for the implementation of this plan in order to carry out activities such as
wearing [UN] Peace Force uniforms and vehicles, cutting off water supplies, electricity and
In 1964, when the UN Peace Force was established, EOKA gunmen used crude replicas of UN
equipment, painting their helmets blue and wearing blue armbands to penetrate Turkish areas.
The 7 March File also described how Turkish bodies “would be buried in the vicinity of Turkish
Cypriot graveyards.” I can only speculate that this would be done to somehow give the impression
that they had died natural deaths and their burials had nothing to do with genocide.
A great amount of planning had gone into preparing the Greek Cypriot civilian population to take
part in the massacres. The 31 March File from Morphou demanded: “people and organisations
should be psychologically prepared in order to ensure their participation in the struggle and
operations of cleansing the Turkish regions.”
This brainwashing was assigned to the 1st (Personnel), 2nd and 3rd Bureaux of the Tactical Group
Command. Then each military unit was expected to prepare the civilians in its own area to
“co-operate fully” with the armed forces.
Apparently, Greek Cypriots were deemed incapable of civilian psychological preparation and
organisation on such a large scale, and these duties were given to the officers of the Greek army
contingent and the Greek officers in the National Guard. From the Files, it appears that every
National Guard unit was by this time under the command of a mainland Greek or had at least one or more mainland Greek officers with it.
The 12 June File from Dhiorios decreed that prior notice of attack was to be given to civilians and
“necessary contacts” established. The population would then, alongside the military and police
forces, cleanse the Turkish villages.
While this was going on, plans were also made to supply the National Guard, if necessary, by air. As
the Guard had no airborne supply facilities, I am assuming the Greek Air Force would have carried
Attached to the 7 March 1974 File was a map of Cyprus to the scale of 1:100,000 and maps to the
scale of 1:50,000 for both Turkish and Greek sectors of Nicosia, Lapithos (now Lapta) and Ayia
Irini. Maps were also issued for two other areas. One was for Paleometokho, a largish town just west
of Nicosia airport, the other for Lefkonikon (Geçitkale), a town in the centre of a group of Turkish
villages in the Mesarya plain between Nicosia and Famagusta Bay.
And although I have no captured files or maps covering the rest of the country, later events prove
that it was the intention to cleanse the whole island of Turks, and I am forced to conclude that
Genocide Files were prepared and issued for all Cyprus.
Paratroopers, presumably to be part of any airdrop, had been secretly trained in Greece. Genocide
File 330/7/25507 - dated 13 February 1974 and issued in Nicosia under the signature of Constantinos
Kombokis, commander of the Cyprus Commando Forces, to the 31st, 32nd and 33rd Commando
Units - gave the names of the first officers selected.
The training in Greece of officers to command units had also taken place. File 330/110/43287, dated
7 August 1973, named the Greek Cypriot officers to attend the Halkidos Infantry School in Greece.
The three-month course was from 10 September to 15 December 1973. The chosen men sailed from
Limassol on the A/B Kipros at 16:00 hours on 5 September.
They wore civilian clothes. They were
also issued with identity cards with their photos in civilian clothes.
There were 33 names on the list, given under the signature of National Guard staff officer Pavlos
Papadakis. One name had been crossed out. Commando training also took place in Cyprus.
Revised orders kept pouring out, perhaps because of the changing political situation. Then
Commander Haralambos Hios began making his final preparations and advising the units under his
On 31 May 1974, File 210/75/3057 made certain alterations in the genocide plans and Hios told his
units to complete their preparations by June 10.
On 3 July, Hios sent out what was apparently his last order before the onslaught was to commence.
In File 210/109/2176, he gave the final changes in this ‘Top Secret’ order.
“The units will work out the necessary modifications in the plans concerning their own sections of
the operations and return them to me by July 10, 1974.”
So, it appeared that the plans in the Genocide Files would be put into operation some time after 10
July. What had been tried unsuccessfully in 1963, 1964 and 1967 would be attempted once more.
But this time it would be different. This was not to be the haphazard killing spree of the Akritas Plan,
with so much study given to thwarting foreign criticism, masterminded by the unholy trinity of
Makarios, Yorgadjis and Clerides, with armed civilians charging this way, that way and every which
way, a massacre here, a slaughter there.
This time it was the Iphestos 1974 plan. It had been carefully plotted, meticulously worked out, with
the sort of care that had gone into the Normandy landings in 1944, if you like. The moon landings,
even. There were plans, hundreds of plans, and thousands of typewritten pages and maps, gone over
and corrected, and altered and changed. Every command headquarters, every unit, every man knew
exactly what to do.
And there would be no need to worry about foreign opinion, for it would be over swiftly, with a
speed that would catch the world unawares. It would be all over before Turkey could get an invasion
fleet on the move.
This time the army would be in charge, the National Guard with its mainland Greek officers and the
mainland Greek contingent. And hundreds more Greek officers clandestinely flown in to urge on the
great mob of civilians and police who would help in the 1974 Cyprus Rites of Genocide. And it
would all be run from Athens, the capital of the Mother Country, Greece. This was the brainchild of
General Dimitrios Ioannides, the strongman, who needed the conquest of Cyprus to consolidate his
rule, to be hailed by his disenchanted people as the man who gave Greece the first stepping stone to a
new Hellenic Empire.
For Cyprus, it would be the Final Solution.
But it was not to be. Greece and the Greeks were to be denied their twin ambitions - the annihilation
of the Cyprus Turks and enosis. For, despite the furious protests of Britain, the United States and, of
course Greece, in the five days of civil war on the island, Turkey managed the incredible feat of
planning, organising and carrying out the successful sea and air landings that gave the persecuted
Turks their own country.
Therefore, another solution to bear in mind is some kind of federation with Turkey, should it be
necessary to beat the European Union to the punch. Britain already has this kind of federation with
Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is composed of Great Britain (itself composed of Scotland,
England and Wales) and Northern Ireland. There is a sea between Great Britain and Northern
Ireland. There is one between Turkey and North Cyprus. Northern Ireland is the north part of the
island called Ireland. North Cyprus is the north part of the island of Cyprus.
The whole could be called the UR - the United Republic of Turkey and North Cyprus. Perhaps even
the United Republics of Turkey, North Cyprus and other Turkic states that have emerged since the
end of the Cold War.
The Turks of Cyprus may find themselves all too soon in a dilemma - unite with Greece and become
a despised and persecuted minority or unite with Turkey and remain free.