The Sinful Past of the Sixties Generation
The prospect of Enosis was ruled out forever by a special provision of the Zuerich--London agreements by which Cyprus was proclaimed an independent state. This historical compromise, though opposing the pro-Enosis sentiments of the people, was the tragic epilogue of the armed struggle of EOKA. Tragic because, as things had developed, the compromise of independence was the last barrier in the road to partition.
Independence was, therefore, in 1960 a painful reality to which the Greek Cypriots had to adjust, because any re-agitation of the demand for Enosis would support Turkish claims to the island. Responsibility for the preservation of independence, as the only remaining alternative to partition, fell to the political leadership, because the people were still ignorant of the great national dead ends to which the Cyprus issue had been led.
Makarios, though a signatory to the agreements, expected that he would be able to reverse them and for this reason he delayed the recognition of the rights the agreements accorded to the Turkish Cypriots. A contributing factor to this was the criticism he was under by the anti-Zuerich opposition, which accused him for breaking his oaths to the cause of Enosis. The enosists at the time called the young Cypriot state "The so-called Republic of Cyprus" and "pseudostate", showing that they considered Cyprus to be a district of Greece. And Makarios, with his oath to Enosis still weighing on his conscience, tried to prove, by action at last, that he was still an enosist.
In approximately this way, the struggle for Enosis re-entered the fray to become, eventually, the object of political exploitation inside as well as outside Cyprus, and in the end, the pretext for the dissolution of the state, which led to the tragedy of 1974. Only after the disaster did it become accepted that the circumstances were such that only the preservation and gradual improvement of the terms of independence could guarantee the continued existence of Greeks on Cyprus. That was the lesson learnt by Greek Cypriot politicians since the disaster of 1974. Otherwise, almost nothing has changed.
Cyprus, 167 days before the end of the 20th century, is still attached to the mentality of the 1960': The same persons, the same mentality, the same interests, the same national dead ends. There is no doubt that Cyprus and its people are victims of international interests. Or that the conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots was the result of foreign interventions, which sought to impose solutions which had been devised to serve the geopolitical interests of the West in the Eastern Mediterranean.
But no foreign intervention could have come to any result, had it not been preceded by the undermining of the state. And before the disaster of 1974, there did precede a process of dissolution of the Republic of Cyprus, which started with the pretext of Enosis, but which eventually only served to promote partition. The course of Cyprus towards disaster lasted fifteen years, from 1959 to 1974. Those fifteen years today comprise the grey area of Cypriot history, which is characterised by obfuscation or distortion of the important facts which shaped the developments that led to the Turkish invasion and occupation of 37% of the land area of the Republic of Cyprus.
The dissolution of the state was achieved in two phases. First there was conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and then internecine conflict among the Greek Cypriots themselves. The hatred sowed by the British policy of "divide and conquer" in the 1950's swelled thanks to the action of two underground organisations: TMT, founded by Raouf Denktash in 1957, and the "Organisation" founded by Polycarpos Yiorkadjis with the blessing of Makarios in 1962 as a counter to TMT. The record of the two organisations, especially during the period 1962-65 shows them to have been prolific in murder, provocation, coercion and other terrorist activity. In addition to the "Organisation" another paramilitary group was formed, led by Nikos Sampson and guided by Demetrios Ioannides, later dictator of Greece. This organisation is considered to have been involved in atrocities against Turkish Cypriot civilians.
Atrocities against Turkish Cypriot civilians in the period 1963-67 are until today, the main support of the divisive policy of Raouf Denktash, who is successfully using the tactic of maintaining the myth that "The Greek Cypriots, as a whole, attempted to exterminate the Turkish Cypriots". A question which concerns all who research the 1960-74 period of Cypriot history is, why does the political leadership continue to cover these crimes and why there is no serious effort to separate the state from the parastate, and the few criminals from the whole of the population, since silence is tantamount to admission of guilt and serves the divisive policies of Denktash.
This silence has much to do with the enormous responsibilities for the destruction of Cyprus which weigh down the shoulders of a whole generation of politicians, who are in power until today. Because there can be no catharsis, unless this is accompanied by the apportionment of responsibility and the removal of persons from positions of authority. For the same reason, the period 1970-1974, during which the second part of the undermining of the state was carried out, and which concluded with the great crime of 1974, was also struck off the history of Cyprus.
The truth about the period 1959-1974 remains obscured under an opaque veil, which covers all the political errors, the culpabilities, and even the crimes which have been committed. So in Cyprus only the acceptable is remembered: That is, EOKA and the Turkish invasion, which stand for good and evil, legend and treason, white and black. Anything outside of these is considered unpatriotic and of service to the enemy's propaganda. Occasionally, it is condidered as treason, or agency of foreign interests... This peculiar patriotism, which has imposed its views in Cyprus, is expressed by the same people who are responsible for all the evil which has befallen this island during the last fifty years.
In the occupied region, power is absolutely in the hands of TMT and the so-called "fighters' associations". Raouf Denktash has gagged every dissenter by persecution and imprisonment, turning Cyprus into a protectorate of Turkey.
In Greek Cypriot society, things appear to be more free and democratic. Yet, substantially, through various tricks the official view of facts has been imposed, according to which the obfuscation or distortion of the truth about 1963-67 is considered to be in the national interest, and reference to the coup of 1974 a useless rehashing of the past. On the contrary, the nationally acceptable behaviour is oblivion and national reconciliation, where reconciliation is considered to be the writing off of responsibilities, and therefore the maintenance of the right to power.
But how can national reconciliation make any sense, when there has been no catharsis? There has been national reconciliation in Greece, but Demetrios Ioannides is not considered a pillar of society. Pattakos is not a Member of the House with the New Democracy party. Theofilogiannakos does not have the freedom of Maximos Court. The stooges of the Junta do not serve in the Greek Intelligence Service. The nationalist Right is not the historically exonerated order. No Prime Minister will ever consider appearing at a memorial service for Georgios Papadopoulos. And no serious Greek TV channels invite the ringleaders of April 21st 1967 to talkshows so that they can give their reasons for imposing dictatorship on the country.
In Cyprus, unaccountability has been renamed national reconciliation, and obfuscation of the past, national unity. So, within a space of just 25 years of the calamity of 1974, the parastate of the 1960's has not been dissolved; on the contrary, without trace of hyperbole, it now forms the ruling class on the island. Where there have been signs of renewal at least in terms of age, the baton has been passed to young people with antiquated ideas. Most of the younger people who today hold state positions were reservist officers at a time when the Junta hand-picked every officer in the National Guard.
As for the older people who today hold all the important positions, they were either involved in EOKA B and the coup, or were members of the Organisation, which was originally founded to protect the state from TMT and eventually dissolved the state. Today, there is sufficient evidence to support the position that the Organisation was promoted by extreme rightist Greek army officers, with the purpose of worsening the problems in relations with the Turks.
Of course, most of the people who eventually joined the Organisation did so out of patriotism and with good intentions. But what counts in the end is the result, and in this case the result was calamitous for Cyprus. Despite all this, the same people are handling the Cyprus issue today. A long list of examples can be compiled, but a sample is enough to illustrate the extent of the problem:
President Clerides himself was Director of the Organisation's Operations Office. His aide Pantelis Kouros was Deputy Commander, Nicosia. Ministrer of the Interior Christodoulos Christodoulou was its Officer in Charge of Indoctrination. Minister of Justice and Public Order Nicos Koshis was its Staff Officer. Director of the Cyprus Intelligence Agency Nicos Ioannou was the right hand man of Polucarpos Yiorkadjis, whose dark role in Cyprus history will never be fully brought to light. Yet this man is today honoured by the state as a national hero.
Glafkos Clerides, as President of the Republic, is present every year at the memorial service for Yiorkadjis, the man who was judged posthumously guilty of the moral instigation of the assassination attempt against Makarios in 1970 by the law courts. The fact that the President honours the man who attempted to murder a President in the past does not cause a political crisis in Cyprus!
The Cyprus Intelligence Agency, founded by Yorkadjis in 1960 with funding by the American CIA with the intention of waging an anti-communist struggle in Cyprus, has been re-formed with exactly the same officers, who have been recalled from retirement to active duty with special contracts for special duties.
EOKA B has been similarly exonerated in Cyprus. The coupists who entered the Presidential Palace in tanks now enter it in suits and ties. In the entrance hall of the Presidential Palace there used to be a model of the Palace burnt out as it was after the coupists shelled it on July 15th. It was there to maintain the memory, but one day it was expediently done away with, because its presence was indeed incompatible with several of the inhabitants and visitors of the Palace.
In Cyprus today, a claim to membership of EOKA B is not a source of shame. On the contrary, it is a title of honour and a qualification for state office. Lefteris Papadopoulos, who was anointed one of the leaders of EOKA B by Demetrios Ioannides after the death of Grivas, is today on the payroll of DESY and has the run of the Presidential Palace.
The other leader, Kikis Constantinou, is today enjoying the fruits of favourable decisions by the Council of Ministers about his tourist businesses in Ayia Napa. Nicos Sampson's coupist Minister of Education, Panayiotis Demetriou Georgios Hadjisavvas, who was dismissed from the civil service as suspect for a bomb attack on the Presidential Palace and took part in the attempted assassination of Makarios in 1970, has returned as Director of the Press and Information Office. Socrates Eliades, the man who handled the EOKA B funds, has the run of the Presidential Palace and visits Archbishop Chrysostomos, with whom he has recently been discussing the formation of a nationalist liberation movement!
The exoneration of the parastate of the sixties has, therefore, created poweful political and financial interests that obstruct any attempt at a restructuring of Cyprus society, which has abandoned any initiative and is watching the developments as a mere spectator.
A great responsibility for this sorry state of affairs lies with the Cypriot Left, which remains a mere spectator of developments, because throughout its history since 1950 it has learnt to survive by going with flow. So, as the Left abandoned the initiative in the national cause of Cyprus to the Church in 1950, as it abandoned the Turkish Cypriots to Denktash in 1960 to join the other Greek Cypriot political forces in a renewed struggle for Enosis, as it survived under the umbrella of Makarios in the 1970's, so does it now survive in the shadow of Clerides, avoiding conflict so that it can later admit to its historical mistake and claim that it has carried out its process of self-critique. There is also the justified impression that the Left has elected being marginalised in order to avoid any responsibility in view of the final closure of the Cyprus issue on terms very unfavourable to the Greek Cypriots.
Today, at the end of the 20th century, the sixties generation, who considered Zuerich to be a disaster, is closing its cycle with another solution, much worse than that of 1960. There is sufficient evidence that the British and Americans are after a quick signature, because of the approach of the end of the biological term of the man who they consider the only one who can do so without repercussions, because he represents the ruling class of the sixties generation.
A generation which took over Cyprus as a British colony with a small Turkish population which was distributed, and lived harmoniously, all over the island. And is now about to hand it on broken into two protectorates, with lines of division and nationally pure areas, where Greeks and Turks have not exchanged a morning greeting for 25 years...