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    Ankara called for Makarios’ “prudence”

    Before the ink had even dried from the agreements for the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus and the problems in the run-up to their implementation appeared from everywhere. Suspicion prevailed at all levels. Each move was interpreted as a threat or an attempt to change the agreements.

    At the same time, the attempt to define interpretations in provisions of the agreements, which served the so-called guarantor powers, was obvious. At the same time, the understandings between Athens and Ankara were often aimed at “prudent” Archbishop Makarios.

    A secret note, which we are revealing today, sheds light on the behind-the-scenes discussions that were taking place in the run-up to the implementation of the new state of affairs. This is the note (dated 6.4.1959, at 12.30), signed by Themistocles Tsatsos and recording his meeting with the Turkish ambassador in Athens, who visited him to convey to him the “concerns of Ankara”. It is recalled that Themistocles Tsatsos headed the Greek delegation for the drafting of the constitution.

    Based on the note, the Turkish ambassador in Athens requested a meeting with Tsatsos, to stress Ankara’s concern about “tendencies of Archbishop Makarios to escape from the spirit of the London agreements.” He explained what he meant: “a) through the selection of ministers from among eminent EOKA officials, while the Turks were diligently confined to persons not involved in a final dispute and b) through a manifested order of the Archbishop to legitimize AKEL, on this last point no particular emphasis was given by the Turkish ambassador nor was he obsessed with the relevant Gentlemen’s agreement”.

    The Turkish ambassador then made a démarche on the issue of separate municipalities. He conveyed the request of his government that the Greeks, members of the Transitional Committee, should not insist by rejecting the discussion of the issue “claiming that it is the responsibility of a Constitutional Committee”. Based on the note, the Turkish diplomat added that the articles of the Greek press, in Greece and Cyprus, say that the separation of municipalities is administrative and not territorial, a fact that, as he said, worries the Turkish government. He pleaded that the Greek Government should influence the Archbishop and the Greek Cypriots to “not insist on this misinterpretation of the London agreements”.

    Ankara called for Makarios' "prudence" 1

    Themistoklis Tsatsos, according to the telegram, replied that “the decisions of the Greek Government are to take all possible measures for the full implementation of the existing agreements in the spirit of good faith and cooperation. We are fully committed to an agreement which we have carried out in all honesty. It is precisely for this reason that the Greek Government does not approve of any concessions regarding the proportion of Ministers to which Makarios made under pressure from the Turkish representatives.” On the issue of municipalities, Themistocles Tsatsos stated that “the opinion of the Greek Government is that it would be possible to seek an appropriate way of territorial separation but since they are included in each sector as far as fewer other-sex citizens are included. I have stressed that we will try to influence the Greek Cypriots in the direction of a above solution, but that our decision is to refrain as far as possible from interfering in Matters of Cyprus other than those which are expressly assumed obligations, in order, in accordance with the spirit of London Agreements, to gradually cut off the psychological dependence of Greek Cypriots on Greece and to promote the creation of an own initiative in regulating Cypriot issues.”

    The note had been sent to the Consulate General in Cyprus (with notification to the Embassies of London and Ankara) in order to have a meeting with Makarios. “We ask that in the above spirit you speak to the Archbishop to find an appropriate practical solution, but all efforts are made to determine geographical boundaries as much as possible.”

    What the constitution says

    The constitution, Article 173, refers to the creation of five separate municipalities in the big cities

    (Nicosia, Limassol, Famagusta, Larnaca and Paphos) by these Turkish citizens, provided that the President and the Vice-President want within four years from the entry into force of the Constitution, the question of whether the separation of the municipalities will continue or not will be examined. The Constitution provides for the creation of a coordinating body for the work, which would take place jointly, and determines its composition.




    Objections to Georkatzi

    As far as the appointment of the minister of the transitional government is concerned, as it appears from another telegram, the objections raised in the form of “concerns” mainly concerned Polykarpos Georkatzis. Objections were raised not only by the Turks, but also by the British. Makarios insisted on a degree that had warned that he would leave the post of interior minister vacant and make a statement about it.

    “E/Cypriots would be subject to a heavy burden for the benefit of Turkish Cypriots”

    On the subject of separate municipalities, the minutes of a meeting, which took place at the residence of the Greek Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis on January 29, 1959, are of interest. According to Nikos Charalambous (“In Search of self-knowledge”, volume two p. 108-109), present at the meeting were Karamanlis, Averoff, Makarios, Metropolitan Anthimos and the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Angelos Vlachos, who also drafted the minutes of the meeting.

    As Evangelos Averoff, who also made the briefing (in the “History of Missed Opportunities”, Cyprus 1950-1963, volume b, pp. 168-176) and Angelos Vlachos (“Ten Years of the Cyprus Problem”, pp. 238-240) record, “Makarios rejected any thought of a Turkish base. He expressed reservations about the percentage of civil servants, Greeks and Turks of the future Cypriot state (Greeks 70% Turks 30%) because he considered it unfair. Paradoxically and despite the insistence of the Averoff not to accept the Turkish request for separate municipalities, the Archbishop and the Metropolitan insisted on the creation of separate municipalities, Greek and Turkish, in the five main cities. Their argument was that if the municipalities were common, then the Greek Cypriots would suffer a great burden for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots.

    According to Averoff “the two hierarchs added to this that the matter was not of paramount importance, and that the Greek side could not be held accountable as long as it always acts as an agent of the Cypriots. At this point, the President of the Government intervened and confirmed that the Greek Government is indeed acting as an agent of the Cypriots and that Cypriot views would be taken into account in the final negotiation of the issue of the municipalities”.




    It smelled of gunpowder early on

    It’s clear that it smelled… gunpowder from the beginning. The given constitution, the different starting points from which they faced the day after the implementation of the Agreements for the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, created an explosive climate early on. Not coincidentally there were different interpretations of a complex state in structure and function. The so-called “constructive ambiguity”. It appears from the telegram from the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Athens did not want to intervene beyond what it was obliged to do. On the contrary, Ankara – and this is confirmed by this approach – in addition to reservations, the lack of trust in Makarios, wanted to have a say in everything regarding the functioning of the state. Interesting and the reminder for gentlemen’s agreement not to legitimize AKEL! Is this the Republic they wanted?

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