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Articles in English

Wanted: Greek Actor with a Conscience

DEMANDS that the recent statements by Turkish actor Attila Olgaç be exploited politically have now become universal. The government has already announced that they will raise the matter with the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council of Europe and seek to secure Turkey’s condemnation on war crimes. I am afraid that once more we are being guided by emotion at the expense of reason.

 

For the sake of argument, let us accept the veracity of Olgaç’s claims. Beyond the shock they cause, they add nothing to what we already know. Are not invasion, ethnic cleansing and colonisation war crimes? And if we have not managed to get Turkey condemned of these in the 1970s and ’80s when refugees were still living in tents, can we manage it now after we ourselves let Turkey off the hook with our clumsy handling in 2004?

 

Turkey’s condemnation in is already in its fourth interstate recourse by Cyprus to the Council of Europe. Yet a few months ago, the member countries of the Council of Europe granted more votes in favour of Turkey becoming a member of the UN Security Council than they did in favour of Austria.

 

When we refer to human rights, we should be deeply convinced of the justice of those rights, and not use them selectively only when those concern our own community or nation.

 

In August 1974, three entire villages of Turkish Cypriots were annihilated by EOKA B. How many people know that it was only after the execution of the entire male population of the village of Tochni that the first organised transportation of Turkish Cypriot civilians to the occupied north – the widows and orphans of Tochni – was arranged, for humanitarian reasons? Why has this society covered the murderers only because the exactors spoke Greek and their victims spoke Turkish? Is this not hypocritical?

 

The list of 500 missing Turkish Cypriots includes the names children as young as three or four years of age. The list published in the official gazette of the government on May 12, 2003. Approximately half were innocent civilians who were abducted and murdered in the period from 1963 to 1967.

 

Among them are the names of 32 Turkish Cypriots who disappeared in Famagusta between May and June, 1964. These people were hapless citizens who were murdered as reprisals for the deaths of two Greek officers and one Cypriot policeman who entered the Turkish quarter of Famagusta bearing arms and in civilian clothes and who subsequently clashed with Turkish Cypriots.

 

“No action is known to have been taken to bring these responsible to trial,” wrote the then Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant, in a report on the facts. “In spite of repeated communications by UNFICYP to authorities at all levels, including a letter to the President to trace the whereabouts or the remains of these persons there has been no progress at all in locating them,” the same report mentions.

 

One group of these missing people were soaking in a well for 44 years and were found last year in Paralimni, after excavations made by the Investigating Committee on Missing Persons.

 

Many ask, “Why do you raise the subject of the Turkish Cypriot victims now that it is Turkey who is in the dock as a result of Olgaç’ statements?”

 

Firstly, in my conscience, all Cypriots are equal – no matter which community they belong to. And secondly, and more substantially, I believe that we will find salvation through catharsis – not in the courtrooms.

 

If something of value has arisen out of all this, it is the shock to public opinion in Turkey itself. It has suddenly been realised that the “peacekeeping operation” of 1974 was a war, with all the attendant extreme barbarity.

 

Unless we all experience the shock of the truth, unless we all understand the other person’s pain, we will never find our way to deliverance. We will always remain miserable, always bemoaning our wicked destiny and cursing ‘the foreigners’ for hating and undermining us.

 

So – Wanted: Greek Actor with a Conscience...


Makarios Drousiotis

Cyprus Mail

01/02/2009