By Chris Elliott…….
The joy of Christmas is almost with us and so many people are looking forward to a peaceful New Year but for the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus in 1963 this wish was denied them by radical Greek Cypriots who wanted Enosis and were implementing the Akritas Plan (click here) which was devised by EOKA and was intended to drive all Turkish Cypriots out of Cyprus be they dead or alive.
The start of the horrific violence against the Turkish Cypriots started on the 21st December 1963 and on Christmas Eve an attack was made on the home of a Turkish Army doctor who was away on duty elsewhere and members of his family and neighbours were killed and wounded and an account of this barbaric incident can be read by clicking here and clicking here .
Living in North Cyprus you soon become aware of memorials and remembrance events to keep alive the memories of those that were martyred but the Turkish Cypriots have learned to be positive and make new lives for themselves despite the fact that the intercommunal attacks continued and this was only stopped when Turkey intervened as one of the 3 guarantor powers in July 1974. Since then they have lived with unyielding pressure from the Greek Cypriots on the world not to recognise the Turkish Cypriots and to place embargoes on them which they live with to this very day.
The United Nations have been trying to broker a peace settlement since 1974 and we can look forward to further talks in Switzerland in January 2017 which may be a make or break meeting.
The Greek Cypriots are demanding back land and property and the expulsion of Turkey as a guarantor power and wanting to take control of the whole island again which is raising fears of the Turkish Cypriots and the many expatriates living in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
If the Greek Cypriots were to negotiate and think laterally what else could they offer the Turkish Cypriots as a sign of peace and friendship and a desire live together?
They need to set aside their misplaced pride and accept the truth of their past activities and say “Sorry we treated you in the way that we did and we accept through the activities of past politicians and extremist groups that we divided our nation and now want to heal the wounds and move forward together with you to a peaceful and prosperous future”.
Is this a pipe dream? Seemingly not when you read what Loucas Charalambous wrote 3 years ago in Cyprus Mail which you can read in full by clicking here and we show extracts of what he was saying.
“Cyprus Mail.- December 22nd 2013.
By Loucas Charalambous
YESTERDAY was the 50th anniversary of the blackest day in the modern history of Cyprus.
If we Greek Cypriots realised the role the events of December 21, 1963, played in our history, every year on this day we should go to the moat that surrounds the Venetian wall in Nicosia (which we should have re-named ‘wall of tears’) and hit our head on it, just like the members of the Jewish faith do at the ruins of the temple of Solomon.”
Loucas Charalambous goes on to say about the Akritas Plan:
“These are the facts which have been conclusively supported by documents and testimonies by members of the organisation. One of the members, former officer Takis Chrysafis, had the guts to tell the truth about the Akritas organisation, revealing that he had personally heard then government minister Polycarpos Yiorkadjis giving instructions for the bomb to be placed at the Marcos Drakos monument on December 3, 1963.
Only the CyBC bosses and the self-styled chieftains of 1963, who have not grown up yet, are still repeating the myth about the Turkish rebellion, when they should be at Nicosia’s Venetian wall, every year on this day, banging their heads against it seeking to absolve their sins.”
So will we see commonsense and honesty prevail in the forthcoming and perhaps final peace talks to be held in January 2017?
Only time will tell and in the meanwhile we are showing below a collage of pictures which were taken from a “Virtual Exhibition” that has been prepared by the TRNC Public Information Office on their website on the occasion of “21st December National Struggle and Martyrs Week” and this shows what those terrible days were like and how the Turkish Cypriots struggled to survive.