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Greek Cypriot state terror revealed


It is high time that the tragic realities of Cyprus are acknowledged and the responsibility for the violence and suffering imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people be shouldered by the true perpetrators
M. ERGÜN OLGUN - Undersecretary of the KKTC Presidency

A recent statement of an ex-EOKA-B (National Organization of Greek Cypriot Fighters-B) member further reveals that attacks on Turkish Cypriots during the years spanning 1963-74 were the result of a systematic Greek Cypriot campaign. The following account given by a living witness is an undeniable testament to the fact that atrocities to which Turkish Cypriots were subjected were indeed a premeditated Greek Cypriot policy.   

In an interview published in Greek Cypriot daily Alithia, a 67-year-old Greek Cypriot named Andreas Dimitriu confessed to being involved in one of the massacres of 1974. Dimitriu is reported to have revealed that, in accordance with an official order, he and a few other volunteers helped the Greek Cypriot police gather Turkish Cypriot men of the village of Taşkent (Dohni) into a coffee shop. Dimitriu continued to state that upon his arrival to the Turkish Cypriot quarter of Taşkent the day following the roundup, he found out that Greek Cypriot soldiers had already attacked many Turkish Cypriots, including the rape of a number of Turkish Cypriot women living in the quarter. The newspaper reported that fearing further atrocities, Turkish Cypriot men had gathered at the village school while the women took collective refuge in a few area homes. According to Dimitriu, all Turkish Cypriot men were taken away in a bus by armed soldiers that night. Dimitriu went on to state that he learned a few days later from a Turkish Cypriot from the village of Tatlısu (Mari) that all those who had been rounded up had been killed.

The fate of the 89 Turkish Cypriot men from Taşkent was later discovered in the presence of the United Nations. Having been taken by force from their homes on Aug. 14, 1974, they were brutally murdered and buried in mass graves. Bearing the guilt of this inhuman massacre, Dimitriu confessed: “These things happened in those days. What have we done that is different from what was happening throughout the island at those times? Whatever we did, we did in collaboration with the legal forces of the state.” Dimitriu claimed also that the EOKA-B members guarding the besieged Turkish Cypriots at Taşkent did not know that soldiers later took the Turkish Cypriots to their death.

When one rakes over the ashes of the past, many similar dreadful stories surface. It is well documented that between the years of 1963 and 1974 thousands of Turkish Cypriots had been killed and wounded, with entire populations of many Turkish Cypriot villages disappearing overnight. Greek Cypriot researcher and filmmaker Antonis Angastiniotis reported to the Greek Cypriot English-language daily Cyprus Mail on Nov. 4, 2004 that:
“All Turkish Cypriots know what happened in the villages of Aloa (Atlılar),Maratha (Muratağa) and Sandalari (Sandallar). It is the Greek Cypriots who do not. ... The Greek Cypriots of the neighboring villages, along with army personnel, attacked these villages. They shot the children, the mothers and any old people left in the villages.… For me this became a nightmare because all these years I had been convinced that everything we had done was right.”
Turkish daily Hürriyet reported on Nov. 1, 2004 that in his short film about the massacres documenting the story of 126 people who were killed, Antonis Angastiniotis had called on the Greek Cypriot people to apologize to the Turkish Cypriot people, prosecute the culprits and pay compensation to the families of the deceased.    

As in the point noted above, it must be made clear that the future cannot and should not be held prisoner to the agonies of the past. To achieve this, a transformation is required that will facilitate healing and the emergence of a clear conscience in order to build the necessary mutual trust and confidence to move forward. As also stressed by President Denktaş, the fact that individuals are beginning to speak about the atrocious realities of the past is a very positive development. These admissions demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that the violence of the past was not the work of uncontrolled EOKA terrorists, as has been claimed by the Greek Cypriot administration, but an organized case of state terror administered by the Greek Cypriot leaders themselves. It is also important to recognize that this aggression continues even today in the form of all-encompassing embargoes on the economic, cultural and political lives of the Turkish Cypriot people. The present Greek Cypriot policy continues to be aimed at preventing each and every effort geared toward the lifting of such embargoes. This fact clearly demonstrates that the Greek Cypriot side is still determined to utilize any and all means available to deprive the Turkish Cypriots of their basic human rights.

It is high time that the tragic realities of Cyprus are acknowledged and the responsibility for the violence and suffering imposed on the Turkish Cypriot people be shouldered by its true perpetrators. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot people cannot be held responsible for the consequences for a war Greece and its Greek Cypriot supporters started in contravention to international law and with the aim of realizing a constitutionally prohibited objective, enosis, or the union of Cyprus with Greece.

 In order to create the necessary atmosphere of confidence for a sustainable and peaceful future on the island, it is essential that Greek Cypriot leadership put an end to its campaign of reality distortion and oppressive policies. Greek Cypriot leadership needs to admit past atrocities, take responsibility for them and apologizes to the Turkish Cypriot people. It is only then that the foundation for a sustainable, negotiated settlement can be laid.