The Cyprus Problem What Everyone Needs to Know Paperback – 21 Apr 2011
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the book is a very welcome addition to an already extended literature on the Cyprus issue, which is surely no small feat. (Marianna Papastephanou, The European Legacy)
About the Author
James Ker-Lindsay is the Eurobank E.F.G. Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Crisis and Conciliation: A Year of Rapprochement Between Greece and Turkey and E.U. Accession and U.N. Peacemaking in Cyprus.
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Ker-Lindsay has written a short, easily accessible book on a topic with a long and tortuous history. To have achieved what I believe is a balanced factual outcome on this subject, is to be applauded. Reading in April 2013, just after the financial events that have shattered the economy of the Republic, I can't help but feel that at least a couple of additional chapters may soon be written. The bailout /bail and also the discovery of natural gas, spring to mind.
Yes, I did learn about the bi-zonal, bi-communal federated solution and much, much more.
If you have any interest in Cyprus I heartily recommend you read this book. (My review is based on the Kindle version)
Here is a sample of the even-handedness, accuracy and impartiality on offer:
In August, the United Kingdom invited Greece and Turkey to attend a conference on peace and security in the eastern Mediterranean. Although not directly stated, the real purpose of the event, to discuss Cyprus, was well known. It was an important moment. Britain now appeared to admit that Cyprus was not purely an internal matter after all. Instead, it directly involved the two countries, which were widely perceived by the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to be their `motherlands'. However, Makarios was furious about the invitation to Turkey. He accused London of reigniting a Turkish interest in Cyprus thirty years after Ankara had given up its claim to Cyprus under the Treaty of Lausanne and refused to attend. The talks went ahead anyway but were beset by violent anti-Greek riots in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Izmir. The conference soon broke down. (pp. 22-23)
Four points need to be made with regard to this passage:
(1) The "real purpose of the event" was not "to discuss Cyprus", but to use Turkish opposition to Cyprus' liberation to make Greece back down. "Throughout the negotiations our aim would be to bring the Greeks up against the Turkish refusal to accept enosis and so condition them to accept a solution which would leave sovereignty in our hands." So said Defence Minister Selwyn Lloyd to Cabinet, and to achieve its aims Britain encouraged Turkey to be intransigent: "Eden let it be known to the British Embassy in Ankara that he was sure it was `in our interest' if Turkey spoke out on the issue, even if this meant being rigid and `violently' anti-Greek at the conference." (The Cyprus Conspiracy: America, Espionage and the Turkish Invasion by Brendan O'Malley & Ian Craig, pp.21 & 22)
(2) Makarios did not refuse to attend the conference. It was a tripartite conference and Cypriots were not invited.
(3) It was not just Makarios who accused the British Government of "reigniting a Turkish interest in Cyprus thirty years after Ankara had given up its claim to Cyprus under the Treaty of Lausanne". Any number of commentators have with justice made the same accusation. For one of the most recent see Robert Ellis' "The scandalous history of Cyprus" (The Guardian 3 March 2010. Also at [...]
It is telling that Ker-Lindsay chooses to put a valid criticism of the British Government in the mouth of a "furious" Makarios refusing to participate in the "discussion". The unstated understanding towards which we are guided by Ker-Lindsay's phrasing and selection of detail goes something like: "Of course, being furious and therefore in an unreasonable frame of mind, he would say something like that out of of pique."
(4) Ker-Lindsay's most startling omission is his reference to "violent anti-Greek riots in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Izmir." As any expert on Cyprus would know, these were not simply "anti-Greek riots", they were planned and orchestrated attacks against a minority community disguised as spontaneous riots, and their primary aim was to demonstrate the "Turkish public's" strength of feeling on the Cyprus issue, and put Greece on the back foot at the conference. There are at least two extensive studies of the "riots" with detailed and reliable documentation: one is in In Turkeys Image: The Transformation of Occupied Cyprus into a Turkish Province (Subsidia Balcanica, Islamica & Turcica) (Subsidia Balcanica, Islamica and Turcica, 4th) by Christos P. Ioannides (New York: Aristide D. Caratzas, 1991); the other is The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom Of September 6-7, 1955, And The Destruction Of The Greek Community Of Istanbul by Speros Vryonis Jr. (Greekworks, 2005).
There is a world of difference between spontaneous expressions of public anger and planned violence against a minority community orchestrated by the government. It is not dissimilar to the difference between accurate impartial information and disinformation. Here is an alternative account of the "anti-Greek riots". Draw your own conclusions:
"In September 1955, as Cyprus was being discussed at a three-power conference in London, the Turkish secret police planted a bomb at the house where Kemal Ataturk was born in Salonica. At the signal of this `Greek provocation', mobs swarmed through Istanbul looting Greek businesses, burning Orthodox churches, and attacking Greek residents. Although no one in official circles in London doubted that the pogrom was unleashed by the Turkish government, Macmillan - in charge of the talks - pointedly did not complain. ("The Divisions of Cyprus" by Perry Anderson in London Review of Books vol. 30, no. 8, 24 April 2008, pp. 7-16. Also at [...], and in The New Old World.)
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