Coufoudakis, V., Cyprus. A Contemporary problem in Historical Perspective, Minnesota 2006.
The book is comprised of several chapters, most of which are devoted to an analysis of the crisis created by the Turkish invasion 1974.
A large part of the book also deals with the Annan Plan (Annan V?) which was rejected by the Greek-Cypriots in 2004.
Coufoudakis has written his book with great knowledge and a strong will to explain and analyse. The book is very easy to read and understand, even to an ignorant layman. He offers a lot of interesting information to the reader, beginning in the Ottoman era.
A quotation from the Introduction indicates the attitude of the author, full of insight and empathy:
”... talking with common people in villages and towns across Cyprus ....
I wish more foreign diplomats had taken the time to understand this land and its people, rather that attempt to impose schemes serving interests other than those of the people of Cyprus.”
The book starts with a very short introduction of the history of the island from 9000 BC and then continues.
Some viewpoints about the book –
”In the 1950’s Britain encouraged Turkey to revise its claims on Cyprus, with the intention to secure Turkeys cooperation with Britain in the Middle East and to blunt the Greek-Cypriote demand for independence. Britain also encouraged the formation of the TMT.”
The latter sentence is of great interest; the present reader didn’t know that the British were involved in the TMT as well, but nothing would surprise us concerning the old Colonial government.
Another wise remark, which should be spread to the UN and the US:
”The problem of the involvement of parties external to Cyprus whose regional strategic interests have little to do with the search for a viable and functional solution that would reunify Cyprus and its people..”
The book has, however some question marks, and I have listed some of them below.
The author has made a list of 5-6 ”Multiple factors” to explain –
”Why the lack of a political solution?”
- One of them is about ”the humane policies of the government of Cyprus.” What about the events in Cyprus 1963 ( Omorfita, Kaimakli), 1964 (Kokkina, Mansoura) and 1967 (Kofinou) when hundreds of innocent TkCyp civilians (and GkCyp!) were killed by the National Guard and EOKA?
- Issues in Dispute: 1974-2005. Why does not the discussion start earlier?
- One of the issues is ”the political equality of the two communities”. Was there equality before 1974?
- The Galo Plaza report of 1965 – this report is very seldom mentioned and deserves attention, although it could have saved the Republic from war if Ankara and Athens didn’t have rejected it.
- The issue of the Cypriot missings. Also 900 TkCyp missing, but never mentioned.
”... the Greek Cypriot media carried out a free debate on the Annan plan.” This doesn’t fit with comments from people who voted ”yes” for the plan. The former president openly urged people to vote ”no” to the plan.
p.45 down. ”the Green Line” is not the cease-fire line of 1974 (Attila-line). Green Line (only Lefkosia!!) was drawn on a map in January 1964 by a British officer in Lefkosia.
It was likewise interesting to read about all the measures from the GkCyp side to facilitate life for the TkCyp. At least officially, there seem to be a strong will from the TkCyp side to help and live with their compatriots.
”... destruction of Orthodox churches and other historical sites....”
Is this a correct description of the current situation? The Dep. of Antiquities in the North has no money to preserve or restore monuments or sites, which their colleagues in the south very well know. The Turkish or the GkCyp side prevent money from being sent to the occupied areas, but the archaeologists are not to blame.
”... violent outbreaks of TkCyp against GkCyp.....”
Every time we read about this, the TkCyp are always to blame, acc. to the author and the GkCyp, which is not a historic truth.
”London-Zürich Agreement of 1959..... the two countries agreed to a blueprint for the independence of Cyprus... which was largely the work of the Turkish delegation...”
This was really interesting, but how could Athens accept this?
”... the coup against the government of Cyprus carried out by the junta ruling Greece..”
The coup couldn’t possibly have taken place if the local NG, NF and of course EOKA-B wouldn’t have been very helpful. Grivas was trained in Greece. Why is this never mentioned in any Greek book about the events?
”1963-1974 Turkish-Cypriot rebellion... ”
Every foreign observer, including the UN, agrees that EOKA fighters and GkCyp police provoked the “rebellion”. In the background Denktash AND Georgadjis were lurking in the dark. Some even maintain there were friends!
”... was the work of the TMT ...” Yes, but also EOKA!
Acc. to the London-Zürich Agreement of 1959, the guarantee powers were given the right to intervene collectively or individually ..... to re-establish the status ...
Some pages further in the book we read that ”military action was not included in the Treaty.” How is it possible to intervene without a ”military action”?
”No TkCyp were harmed during the coup. .... a purely internal GkCyp affair....”
This is nonsense. If it had been, the Turks would have had no official reason to invade.
Read Ihsan Ali (personal adviser of Makarios)
”... National Guard and EOKA-B coupists in Paphos ....... took such a savage character. ... launched attacks against innocent Turks, even women and children, ....... terrified them to force them to evacuate their homes and go north. ..... to bring about partition because they had orders from the CIA.”
Dr Ihsan Ali, ”My memoirs”, Ihsan Alis Foundation, Lefkosia 2000
”Nor has anyone proven that the aim of the coup was enosis.” The Greek junta in Athens wanted to kill Makarios because he no longer wished enosis with Greece. Enosis was always the objective of EOKA, heavily involved in the killing of those who wouldn’t.
Dr Ihsan Ali, My memoirs, Ihsan Alis Foundation 2000