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Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus-TRNC

Attempted Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in Cyprus

By Michael Stephen
Former British Parliamentarian (1992-97)

The assertion by Mr. Christides (May 10, 1999) that there was no ethnic cleansing or attempted genocide of Turkish Cypriots by Greek Cypriots is ridiculous. Until influential Greek Cypriots come to terms with the appalling behavior of their community toward the smaller Turkish Cypriot community and stop trying to persuade themselves and the world that each side was as much to blame as the other, there will be no reconciliation in Cyprus.

What did George Ball and Sir Alec Douglas say about the intentions of Archbishop Makarios vis a vis the Turkish Cypriots?

In his memoirs, American Undersecretary of State George Ball said: "Makarios's central interest was to block off Turkish intervention so that he and his Greek Cypriots could go on happily massacring Turkish Cypriots. Obviously we would never permit that. "The fact is, however, that neither the United Nations, nor anyone, other than Turkey ever took effective action to prevent it. On Feb. 17, 1964 the Washington Post reported that "Greek Cypriot fanatics appear bent on a policy of genocide."

Former British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home said, "I was convinced that if Archbishop Makarios could not bring himself to treat the Turkish Cypriots as human beings he was inviting the invasion and partition of the island."

On July 28, 1960 Makarios, the Greek Cypriot president, said: "The independence agreements do not form the goal they are the present and not the future. The Greek Cypriot people will continue their national cause and shape their future in accordance with THEIR will." In a speech on Sept. 4, 1962 at Panayia Makarios said, "Until this Turkish community forming part of the Turkish race that has been the terrible enemy of Hellenism is expelled, the duty of the heroes of EOKA can never be considered terminated."

The Constitutional Coup

In November 1963 the Greek Cypriots demanded the abolition of no less than eight of the basic articles that had been included in the 1960 agreement for the protection of the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots, naturally, refused to agree. The aim of the Greek Cypriots was to reduce the Turkish Cypriot people to the status of a mere minority, wholly subject to the control of the Greek Cypriots, pending ultimate destruction or expulsion of the Turkish Cypriots from the island.

"When the Turkish Cypriots objected to the amendment of the Constitution, Makarios put his plan into effect, and the Greek Cypriot attack began in December 1963," wrote Lt. Gen. George Karayiannis of The Greek Cypriot militia ("Ethnikos Kiryx" 15.6.65). The general was referring to the notorious "Akritas" plan, which was the blueprint for the annihilation of the Turkish Cypriots and the annexation of the island to Greece.

Events leading to the sending of the UN Peace-Keeping Force to the island

On Christmas Eve 1963 the Greek Cypriot militia attacked Turkish Cypriot communities across the island. Large numbers of men, women, and children were killed and 270 mosques, shrines and other places of worship were desecrated.

On Dec. 28, 1963, the Daily Express carried the following report from Cyprus: "We went tonight into the sealed-off Turkish Cypriot quarter of Nicosia in which 200 to 300 people had been slaughtered in the last five days. We were the first Western reporters there, and we have seen sights too frightful to be described in print. Horror was so extreme that the people seemed stunned beyond tears."

On Dec. 31, 1963, The Guardian reported: "It is nonsense to claim, as the Greek Cypriots do, that all casualties were caused by fighting between armed men of both sides. On Christmas Eve many Turkish Cypriot people were brutally attacked and murdered in their suburban homes, including the wife and children of a doctor-allegedly by a group of 40 men, many in army boots and greatcoats." Although the Turkish Cypriots fought back as best they could and killed some militia, there were no massacres of Greek Cypriot civilians.

On Jan. 1, 1964, the Daily Herald reported: "When I came across the Turkish Cypriot homes they were an appalling sight. Apart from the walls they just did not exist. I doubt if a napalm attack could have created more devastation. Under roofs springs, children's cots, and gray ashes of what had once been tables, chairs and wardrobes. In the neighboring village of Ayios Vassilios I counted 16 wrecked and burned out homes. They were all Turkish Cypriot's. In neither village did I find a scrap of damage to any Greek Cypriot house."

On Jan. 2, 1964, the Daily Telegraph wrote: "The Greek Cypriot community should not assume that the British military presence can or should secure them against Turkish intervention if they persecute the Turkish Cypriots. We must not be a shelter for double-crossers."

On Jan. 12, 1964, the British High Commission in Nicosia wrote in a telegram to London: "The Greek [Cypriot] police are led by extremist who provoked the fighting and deliberately engaged in atrocities. They have recruited into their ranks as 'special constables' gun-happy young thugs. They threaten to try and punish any Turkish Cypriot police who wishes to return to the Cyprus Government... Makarios assured Sir Arthur Clark that there will be no attack. His assurance is as worthless as previous assurances have proved."

On Jan. 14, 1964, the Daily Telegraph reported that the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Ayios Vassilios had been massacred on Dec. 26, 1963 and reported their exhumation from a mass grave in the presence of the Red Cross. A further massacre of Turkish Cypriots, at Limassol, was reported by The Observer on Feb. 16, 1964; and there were many more.

On Feb. 6, 1964, a British patrol found armed Greek Cypriot police attacking the Turkish Cypriots of Ayios Sozomenos. They were unable to stop the attack.

On Feb. 13, 1964, the Greeks and Greek Cypriots attacked the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Limassol with tanks, killing 16 and injuring 35.

On Feb. 15, 1964, the Daily Telegraph reported: "It is a real military operation which the Greek Cypriots launched against the 6,000 inhabitants of the Turkish Cypriot quarter yesterday morning. A spokesman for the Greek Cypriot government has recognized this officially. It is hard to conceive how Greek and Turkish Cypriots may seriously contemplate working together after all that has happened."

Further attempts for ENOSIS

On Sept. 10, 1964, the U.N. Secretary-General reported that "UNFICYP" carried out a detailed survey of all damage to properties throughout the island during the disturbances... It shows that in 109 villages, most of them Turkish-Cypriot or mixed villages, 527 houses have been destroyed while 2,000 others have suffered damage from looting. In Ktima 38 houses and shops have been destroyed totally and 122 partially. In the Orphomita suburb of Nicosia, 50 houses have been totally destroyed while a further 240 have been partially destroyed there and in adjacent suburbs."

The U.K. House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs reviewed the Cyprus question in 1987 and reported unanimously on July 2 of that year that "although the Cyprus Government now claims to have been merely seeking to 'operate the 1960 Constitution modified to the extent dictated by the necessities of the situation,' this claim ignores the fact that both before and after the events o#, December 1963 the Makarios Government continued to advocate the cause of ENOSIS and actively pursued the amendment of the Constitution and the related treaties to facilitate this ultimate objective."

The committee continued: "Moreover, in June 1967 the Greek Cypriot legislature unanimously passed a resolution in favor of enosis, in blatant contravention of the 1960 Treaties and Constitution." (Art. I of the Treaty of Guarantee prohibited any action likely to directly or indirectly promote union with any other state or partition of the island, and Art. 185(2) of the Constitution is to similar effect.)

Professor Ernst Forsthoff, the neutral president of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Cyprus, told Die Welt on Dec. 27, 1963: "Makarios bears on his shoulders the sole responsibility for the recent tragic events. His aim is to deprive the Turkish community of their rights". In an interview with the UPI press agency on Dec. 30, 1963 he said, "All this happened because Makarios wanted to take away all constitutional rights from the Turkish Cypriots."

The Failure of the UN and the others

The United Nations not only failed to condemn the forcible usurpation of the legal order in Cyprus, but actually rewarded it by treating the by then wholly Greek Cypriot administration as if it were the government of Cyprus (Security Council Res. 186 of 1964). This acceptance has continued to the present day, and reflects no credit upon the United Nations, nor upon Britain, nor the other countries who have acquiesced.

On Aug. 12, 1964, the UK representative to the United Nations wrote to his government in London as follows:

"What is our policy and true feelings about the future of Cyprus and about Makarios? Judging from the English newspapers and many others, the feeling is very strong indeed against Makarios and his so-called government, and nothing would please the British people more than to see him toppled and the Cyprus problem solved by the direct dealings between the Turks and the Greeks. We are of course supporting the latter course, but I have never seen any expression of the official disapproval in public against Makarios and his evil doings. Is there an official view about this, and what do we think we should do in the long run? Sometimes it seems that the obsession of some people with "the Commonwealth" blinds us to everything else and it would be high treason to take more active line against Makarios and his henchmen. At other times the dominant feature seems to be concern lest active opposition against Makarios should lead to direct conflict with the Cypriots and end up with our losing our bases."

Exclusion of the Turkish Cypriots from representation at the international fora

Thereafter Turkish Cypriot MPs, judges, and other officials were intimidated or prevented by force from carrying out their duties. According to the Select Committee, "The effect of the crisis of December 1963 was to deliver control of the formal organs of government into the hands of the Greek Cypriots alone. Claiming to be acting in accordance with the doctrine of necessity, the Greek Cypriot members of the House of Representatives enacted a series of laws which provided for the operation of the organs of government without Turkish Cypriot participation."

The report of the Select Committee continued: "Equality damaging from the Turkish Cypriot point of view was what they considered to be their effective exclusion from representation at and participation in the international fora where their case could have been deployed... An official Turkish Cypriot presence in the international political scene virtually disappeared overnight." It is not therefore surprising that the world has been persuaded to the Greek Cypriot point of view.

Atrocities of the Greek Cypriots

More than 300 Turkish Cypriots are still missing without trace from these massacres of 1963/64. These dreadful events were not the responsibility of "the Greek Colonels" of 1974 or an unrepresentative handful of Greek Cypriot extremists. The persecution of the Turkish Cypriots was an act of policy on the part of the Greek Cypriot political and religious leadership, which has to this day made no serious attempt to bring the murderers to justice.

The UK Commons Select Committee found that "there is little doubt that much of the violence which the Turkish Cypriots claim led to the total or partial destruction of 103 Turkish villages and the displacement of about a quarter of the total Turkish Cypriot population was either directly inspired by, or connived at, by the Greek Cypriot leadership."

The UN secretary-general reported to the Security Council: "When the disturbances broke out in December 1963 and continued during the first part of 1964, thousands of Turkish Cypriots fled their homes, taking with them only what they could drive or carry, and sought refuge in safer villages and areas."

On Jan. 14, 1964, "ll Giorno" of Italy reported: "Right now we are witnessing the exodus of Turkish Cypriots from the villages. Thousands of people abandoning homes, land, herds. Greek Cypriot terrorism is relentless. This time the rhetoric of the Hellenes and the statues of Plato do not cover up their barbaric and ferocious behavior."

The Greek Cypriots sometimes allege that it was they who were attacked by the Turkish Cypriots, who were determined to wreck the 1960 agreements. However, the Turkish Cypriots were not only outnumbered by nearly four to one; they were also surrounded in their villages by armed Greek Cypriots; they had no way of protecting their women and children, and Turkey was 40 miles away across the sea. The very idea that in those circumstances the Turkish Cypriots were the aggressors is absurd.

The role of the mainland Greek troops in overthrowing of Makarios

There were further attacks on the Turkish Cypriots in 1967. In 1971, General Grivas returned to Cyprus to form EOKA-B, which was again committed to making Cyprus a wholly Greek island and annexing it to Greece. In a speech to the Greek Cypriot armed forces at the time (quoted in "New Cyprus," May 1987) Grivas said: "The Greek forces from Greece have come to Cyprus in order to impose the will of the Greeks of Cyprus upon the Turks. We want ENOSIS but the Turks are against it. We shall impose our will. We are strong, and we shall do so."

By July 15, 1974, a powerful force of mainland Greek troops had assembled in Cyprus and with their backing, the Greek Cypriot National Guard overthrew Makarios and installed one Nicos Sampson as "president." On July 22, the Washington Star News reported: "Bodies littered the streets and there were mass burials... People told by Makarios to lay down their guns were shot by the National Guard."

Missing persons, what is the truth?

On April 17, 1991, Ambassador Nelson Ledsky testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "most of the 'missing persons' disappeared in the first days of July 1974, before the Turkish intervention on the 20th. Many killed on the Greek side were killed by Greek Cypriots in fighting between supporters of Makarios and Sampson."

On Nov. 6, 1974, Ta Nea reported that dates from the graves of Greek Cypriots killed in the five days between July 15-20 were erased in order to blame these deaths on the subsequent Turkish military action.

On March 3, 1996, the Greek Cypriot Cyprus Mail wrote: "(Greek) Cypriot governments have found it convenient to conceal the scale of atrocities during the July 15 coup in an attempt to downplay its contribution to the tragedy of the summer of 1974 and instead blame the Turkish invasion for all casualties. There can be no justification for any government that failed to investigate this sensitive humanitarian issue. The shocking admission by the Clerides government that there are people buried in Nicosia cemetery who are still included in the list of the 'missing' is the last episode of a human drama which has been turned into a propaganda tool."

On Oct. 19 1996, Mr. Georgios Lanitis wrote: "I was serving with the Foreign Information Service of the Republic of Cyprus in London... I deeply apologize to all those I told that there are 1,619 missing persons. I misled them. I was made a liar, deliberately, by the government of Cyprus . .... today it seems that the credibility of Cyprus is nil."

Had Turkey not intervened, what would have happened?

Turkish Cypriots appealed to the guarantor powers for help, but only Turkey was willing to make any effective response. On July 20, 1974 Turkey intervened under Article IV of the Treaty of Guarantee. The Greek newspaper Eleftherotipia published an interview with Nicos Sampson on Feb. 26, 1981 in which he said, "Had Turkey not intervened I would not only have proclaimed ENOSIS, I would have annihilated the Turks in Cyprus."

More attacks against the Turkish community

The Times and The Guardian reported on Aug. 21, 1974 that in the village of Tokhni on Aug. 14, 1974 all the Turkish Cypriot men between the ages of 13 and 74, except for eighteen who managed to escape, were taken away and shot.

There were also reports that in Zyyi on the same day all the Turkish-Cypriot men aged between 19 an 38 were taken away and were never seen again and that Greek-Cypriots opened fire on the Turkish-Cypriot neighborhood of Paphos killing men, women, and children indiscriminately.

On July 23, 1974, the Washington Post reported that "in a Greek raid on a small Turkish village near Limassol 36 people out of a population of 200 were killed. The Greeks said that they had been given orders to kill the inhabitants of the Turkish villages before the Turkish forces arrived." The Times and The Guardian also reported on the killings.

"The Greeks began to shell the Turkish quarter on Saturday, refugees said. Kazan Dervis, a Turkish Cypriot girl aged 15, said she had been staying with her uncle. The [Greek Cypriot] National Guard came into the Turkish sector and shooting began. She saw her uncle and other relatives taken away as prisoners, and later heard her uncle had been shot." (Times 23.7.74)

On July 28, 1974 the New York Times reported that 14 Turkish-Cypriot men had been shot in Alaminos. On July 24, 1974 France Soir reported that "the Greeks burned Turkish mosques and set fire to Turkish homes in the villages around Famagusta. Defenseless Turkish villagers who have weapons live in an atmosphere of terror and they evacuate their homes and go and live in tents in the forest. The Greeks' actions are a shame to humanity."

On July 22, Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit called upon the United Nations to "stop the genocide of Turkish Cypriots" and declared, "Turkey has accepted a cease-fire, but will not allow Turkish Cypriots to be massacred."

The German newspaper Die Zeit wrote on Aug. 30, "The massacre of Turkish Cypriots in Paphos and Famagusta is the proof of how justified the Turks were to undertake their intervention."

"Turkish Cypriots, who had suffered from physical attacks since 1963, called on the guarantor powers to prevent a Greek conquest of the island. When Britain did nothing Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied its northern part. Turkish Cypriots have constitutional right on their side and understandably fear a renewal of persecution if the Turkish army withdraws", the Daily Telegraph wrote on Aug. 15, 1996.

At last, peace for the Turkish Cypriots

"Turkey intervened to protect the lives and property of the Turkish-Cypriots, and to its credit it has done just that. In the 12 years since, there have been no killings and no massacres" Lord Willis (Labor) told the House of Lords on Dec. 17, 1986.

On March 12, 1977, Makarios declared, "It is in the name of ENOSIS that Cyprus has been destroyed."

The United Nations, the Commonwealth, and the rest of the world have put political expediency before principle and failed to condemn this appalling behavior. Greek Cypriots are guilty of attempted genocide but no action has ever been taken against them. Instead they have been rewarded by recognition as the government of all Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots by contrast were frozen out of the United Nations, the Commonwealth and almost every other international organization.

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