Cyprus, a call for help to the UN from Makarios
Reading the daily outpouring of rhetoric from politicians today, it pays to look back in time to try to learn the truth of what really happened and this is what Makarios said on the 19th July 1974 to the UN Council about the problems in Cyprus and who was at fault..
THE SPEECH BY MAKARIOS
THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
on Turkish Republic of North Cyprus
MAKARIOS: “… It may be said that it was the Cyprus Government which invited the Greek officers to staff the National Guard. I regret to say that it was a mistake on my part to bestow upon them so much trust and confidence. They abused that trust and confidence and, instead of helping in the defense of the Island’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, they themselves became the aggressors… the events in Cyprus do not constitute an internal matter of the Greeks of Cyprus. The Turks of Cyprus are also affected…The Security Council should call upon the military regime of Greece to withdraw from Cyprus the Greek officers serving in the National Guard, and to put an end to its invasion of Cyprus…”
President Makarios: I should like at the outset to express my warmest thanks to the members of the Security Council for the keen interest they have shown in the critical situation created in Cyprus after the coup which was organized by the military regime of Greece and was put into effect by the Greek officers serving in and commanding the Cyprus National Guard. I am particularly grateful that the Security Council has agreed to postpone its meeting until my arrival here to give me the opportunity of addressing it on the recent dramatic events in Cyprus.
What has been happening in Cyprus since last Monday morning is a real tragedy. The military regime of Greece has callously violated the independence of Cyprus. Without trace of respect for the democratic rights of the Cypriot people, without trace of respect for the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, the Greek junta has extended its dictatorship to Cyprus. It is indeed a fact that for some time now their intention was becoming obvious. The people of Cyprus had for a long time feeling that a coup by the Greek junta was brewing, and this feeling became more intense during the recent weeks when the terrorist organization ‘EOKA B’, directed from Athens, had renewed its wave of violence. I knew all along that the illegal organization had its roots and supply resources in Athens. I became aware that the Greek officers staffing and commanding the National Guard were recruiting members for that organization, and they supported it in various ways to the point of access to the munitions supply stores of the National Guard. In the camps of the National Guard, the Greek officers were conducting open propaganda in favor of that illegal organization and turned the National Guard from an organ of the state into an instrument of subversion. Whenever, from time to time I complained to Athens about unbecoming conduct by Greek officers of the National guard, the reply was that if I had concrete evidence in proof thereof those found guilty would be recalled. From the all tenor of their attitude, I received the unmistakable impression that their standard response was a pretense of innocence. A few days ago documents came into the hands of the Cyprus police clearly proving that ‘EOKA B’ was an appendage of the Athens regime.
Funds were being remitted from Athens for the upkeep of this organization and detailed directives regarding its actions were also given to it. I then found it necessary myself to address a letter to the President of the Greek regime, General Gizikis, asking him to give orders for the cessation of the violence and bloodshed by ‘EOKA B’ and for its dissolution. I also requested him to recall the Greek officers serving with the National Guard, adding that my intention was to reduce the numerical strength of this Force and to turn it into an organ of the Cyprus State. I was waiting for a reply. My impression was that the Athens regime did not favor the reduction of the Force, much less the withdrawal of the Greek officers.
The Greek Ambassador in Cyprus called on me, on instructions from his Government, in order to explain to me that the decrease in the numerical strength of the National Guard or the withdrawal of the Greek officers would weaken the defense of Cyprus in case of danger from Turkey. This was an argument which, even though it appeared logical, was not convincing because I knew that behind this argument other interests were hidden. I replied that as things developed I consider the danger from Turkey of a lesser degree than the danger from them. And it was proved that my fears were justified.
On Saturday, 13 July, a conference under the presidency of General Gizikis was held in Athens which lasted for many hours. It was attended by the Greek Chief of Staff of the armed forces, the Ambassador of Greece to Cyprus, the commander of the purpose of discussing the content of my letter. As was stated in a relevant communiqué issued at the end of this conference, it was to be reconvened on Monday, 15 July. The reference in the communiqué to a second conference was deceiving. For a while on Monday I was waiting for a reply to my letter, the reply came, and it was the coup.
On that day, I returned from my summer house on the Troodos mountains, where I had spent the week-end, and by 8 a.m. I was at my office at the Presidential Palace. Half an hour later I was welcoming in the reception room a group of boys and girls, members of the Greek Orthodox Youth from Cairo who came to Cyprus as my guests for a few days. Hardly had I greeted them when the first shots were heard. Within seconds the shots became more frequent and a member of the Presidential Guard informed me that armored cars and tanks had passed the fence and were already in the yard of the Presidential Palace which was shaking from mortar shells. The situation soon became critical. I tried to call the Cyprus Radio Station for the purpose of issuing a special broadcast announcing that the Presidential Palace was under attack, but I realized that the lines were cut off. Heavy shelling was ever increasing. How my life was saved seemed like a providential miracle. When I eventually found myself in the area of Paphos, I addressed the people of Cyprus from a local radio station informing them that I am alive and that I will struggle with them against the dictatorship which the Greek regime is trying to impose.
I do not intend to occupy the time of the members of the Security Council with my personal adventure. I simply wish to add that during the second day of the armed attack the armored cars and tanks were moving towards Paphos, while at the same time a small warship of the National Guard began shelling the Bishopric of Paphos where I was staying. Under the circumstances, I found it advisable to leave Cyprus rather than fall into the hands of the Greek junta.
I am grateful to the British Government which made available a helicopter to pick me up from Paphos, transfer me to the British bases, and from there by plane to Malta and London. I am also grateful to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and to the Commander of the Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus for the interest which they had shown for my safety. My presence in this room of the Security Council was made possible thanks to the help given to me by the British Government and the representatives of the Secretary-General, Dr. Waldheim, whose keen concern for me and for the critical situation which developed in Cyprus moves every fiber of my heart.
I do not know as yet all the details of the Cyprus crisis caused by the Greek military regime. I am afraid that the number of casualties is large and that the material destruction is heavy. What is, however, our primary concern at present is the ending of the tragedy.
When I reached London, I was informed of the content of the speech of the representative of the Greek junta to the United Nations. I was surprised at the way they are trying to deceive world public opinion. Without a blush, the Greek junta is making efforts to simplify the situation, claiming that it is not involved in the armed attack and that the developments of the last few days are an internal matter of the Greek Cypriots.
I do not believe that there are people who accept the allegations of the Greek military regime. The coup did not come about under such circumstances as to be considered an internal matter of the Greek Cypriots. It is clearly an invasion from outside, in flagrant violation of the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. The so-called coup was the work of the Greek officers staffing and commanding the National Guard. I must also underline the fact that the Greek contingent, composed of 950 officers and men stationed in Cyprus by virtue of the Treaty of Alliance, played a predominant role in this aggressive affair against Cyprus. The capture of the airport outside the capital was carried out by officers and men of the Greek contingent campaign near the airport.
It is enough to state on this point that certain photographs appearing in the world press show armored vehicles and tanks belonging to the Greek contingent in Cyprus. On the other hand, the Greek officers serving with the National Guard were directing the operations. In these operations, they recruited many members of the terrorist organization ‘EOKA B’, whom they armed with weapons of the National Guard.
If the Greek officers serving in the National Guard were not involved, how does one explain the fact that among the casualties in battle were Greek officers whose remains were transported to Greece and buried there? If Greek officers did not carry out the coup, how does one explain the fact of night flights of Greek aircraft transporting to Cyprus personnel in civilian clothes and taking back to Greece dead and wounded men? There is no doubt that the coup was organized by the Greek junta and was carried out by the Greek officers commanding the National Guard and by the officers and men of the Greek contingent stationed in Cyprus – and it was reported as such by the press around the globe.
The coup caused much bloodshed and took a great toll of human lives. It was faced with the determined resistance of the legal security forces and the resistance of the Greek people of Cyprus. I can say with certainty that the resistance and the reaction of the Greek Cypriot people against the conspirators will not end until there is a restoration of their freedom and democratic rights. The Cypriot people will never bow to dictatorship, even though for the moment the brutal force of the armored cars and tanks may have prevailed.
It may be alleged that what took place in Cyprus is a revolution and that a Government was established based on revolutionary law. This is not the case. No revolution took place in Cyprus which could be considered as an internal matter. It was an invasion, which violated the independence and the sovereignty of the Republic. And the invasion is continuing so long as there are Greek officers in Cyprus. The results of this invasion will be catalytic for Cyprus if there is no return to constitutional normality and if democratic freedoms are not restored.
For the purpose of misleading world public opinion, the military regime of Greece announced yesterday the gradual replacement of the Greek officers of the National Guard. But the issue is not their replacement; the issue is their withdrawal. The gesture of replacement has the meaning of admission that the Greek officers now serving in the National Guard were those who carried out the coup. Those officers, however, did not act on their own initiative but upon instructions from Athens, and their replacements will also follow instructions from the Athens regime. Thus the National Guard will always remain an instrument of the Greek military regime, and I am certain that the members of the Security Council understand this ploy.
It may be said that it was the Cyprus Government which invited the Greek officers to staff the National Guard. I regret to say that it was a mistake on my part to bestow upon them so much trust and confidence. They abused that trust and confidence and, instead of helping in the defense of the Island’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, they themselves became the aggressors.
I am obliged to say that the policy of the military regime in Greece towards Cyprus, and particularly towards the Greek Cypriots, has been insincere. I wish to stress that it was a policy of duplicity.
For some time talks were going on between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots in search of a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem, which on many occasions has occupied the time of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations. The representative of the Secretary-General and two constitutional experts from Greece and Turkey have been attending the talks. The Security Council has repeatedly renewed, twice yearly, the mandate of the peace-keeping Force in Cyprus, expressing every time hope for a speedy solution of the problem.
It cannot be said that up to now the progress of the talks has been satisfactory. But how could there be any progress in the talks while the policy on Cyprus of the regime in Athens has been double-faced? It was agreed by all the parties concerned that the talks were taking place on the basis of independence. The regime of Athens also agreed to that, and time and again the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that the position of Greece on this issue was clear. If that were the case, why had the military regime of Greece created and supported the terrorist organization ‘EOKA B’, whose purpose was stated to be the union of Cyprus with Greece and whose members called themselves ‘unionists’?
Inside the camps of the National Guard, the Greek officers continually charged that while Enosis was feasible its realization was undermined by me. When reminded that Greece had made its position clear on this and that it supported independence, their reply was that no attention should be given to the words of diplomats. Under such circumstances how was it possible for the talks to arrive at a positive result? The double-faced policy of the Greek regime was one of the main obstacles to the progress of the talks.
In the circumstances that have now been created in Cyprus, I cannot foresee the prospects of the talks. I would rather say that there are no prospects at all. An agreement that may be reached by the talks would be devoid of any value because there is no elected leadership to deal with the matter. The coup d’état of the military regime of Greece constitutes an arrest of the progress of the talks towards a solution. Moreover, it will be a continuous source of anomaly in Cyprus, the repercussions of which will be very grave and far reaching, if this situation is permitted to continue even for a short time.
I appeal to the members of the Security Council to do their utmost to put an end to this anomalous situation which was created by the coup of Athens. I call upon the Security Council to use all ways and means at its disposal so that the constitutional order in Cyprus and the democratic rights of the people of Cyprus can be reinstated without delay.
As I have already stated, the events in Cyprus do not constitute an internal matter of the Greeks of Cyprus. The Turks of Cyprus are also affected. The coup of the Greek junta is an invasion, and from its consequences the whole people of Cyprus suffers, both Greeks and Turks. The United Nations has a peace-keeping Force stationed in Cyprus. It is not possible for the role of that peace-keeping Force to be effective under conditions of a military coup. The Security Council should call upon the military regime of Greece to withdraw from Cyprus the Greek officers serving in the National Guard, and to put an end to its invasion of Cyprus.
I think that, with what I have placed before you, I have given a picture of the situation. I have no doubt that an appropriate decision of the Security Council will put an end to the invasion and restore the violated independence of Cyprus and the democratic rights of the Cypriot people.
Editors Note: On 20th July 1974 the Turkish Armed Forces launched “Operation Atilla” a peace intervention operation in Cyprus as a guarantor power which was intended to safeguard the lives of the Turkish Cypriots who had been driven into enclaves and under threat of annihilation.
On Saturday 20th July 2013 the world is still waiting to see what the UN intends doing about this 39-year-old problem although the issues go back even further. The first Turkish Cypriot to be killed by EOKA it seems, was on 21st June 1955, who was a policeman, so the truth needs to be told, understood and realistic settlements made to bring peace and harmony back to Cyprus.
Compound this with the UN Annan Plan for peace which was accepted by Turkish Cypriots and rejected by the Greek Cypriots on 24th April 2004. The Greeks Cypriots are then welcomed into the European Union but the Turkish Cypriots are left to continue to live with international embargoes.
Justice needs to be seen to be done!