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    Why is there a UN peacekeeping force on Cyprus?

    “Thirty-one UNFICYP peacekeepers from 11 contingents of the UN Police (UNPOL) were awarded medals for their contributions to peace in Cyprus, in a ceremony held at the UN headquarters in Lefkoşa, 16 April 2021. Source: UNFICYP | United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (

    Why did the UN establish a peace-keeping and peace-finding mission on Cyprus? Who pays them, and what do they actually do?

    By Mustafa Niyazi

    Two Sides, One Story

    If you ask the Greek Cypriots, they are necessary to prevent any intervention against their regime, though they will never acquiesce to that fact.

    And to the Turkish Cypriots, who once fervently wished the UN would stop wanton Greek Cypriot aggression against them, the UN only serves to continue allowing multiple flagrant violations of their rights as human beings.

    Of course, the short answer is they are paid by the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus. And they serve to allow the Greek Cypriots to continue committing multiple human rights violations, crimes against humanity, and various other acts of cruelty to human beings.

    But unpacking the events as they unfolded provides a much more shocking truth.

    So why are the UN really on Cyprus?

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    Racism and Violence Against the Turks

    The violence against the Turks in 1963-1964 was premeditated.(1) This is confirmed by Alias Kyrou, the correspondent for the Salonika newspaper Ellinikos Vorras,(2) and bucket loads of foreign observers.(3)

    Three days into the ethnic cleansing campaign, on 23 December 1963 after denying complicity in the ongoing massacres, Makarios agreed to join Küçük in making a public appeal for peace. But when it was broadcast on the radio it was followed by a statement in Greek calling upon Greek Cypriots to keep struggling for the “materialisation of our aspirations – Enosis”.(4) ⁠

    At 22:00 Makarios once again agreed on broadcasting a message, which this time was more ambiguous.(5) ⁠

    On Christmas Eve yet another meeting took place, this time with the US Ambassador, British High Commissioner and their military attaches invited to attend. Agreements were made calling for a turn to normalcy, but the Greek Cypriots made no effort to implement them.(6) ⁠

    Eventually, the Turkish government appealed to the governments of Great Britain and Greece, the other two guarantor powers, to make a common effort to restore peace on the island. Of course Greece was the one orchestrating everything. And Britain… well… Britain is Britain… but as a result, on 24 December the three governments issued a joint statement offering their good offices to the two communities. ⁠ This appeal was repeated on the 25th. ⁠

    For added emphasis, Turkey sent three jet planes to buzz Lefkoşa (Nicosia) in warning flights and the 650-man-strong contingent of the Tripartite Force was ordered to leave its barracks at Wayne’s Keep and settle down at strategic points along the Girne (Kyrenia) road.

    At last, on 26 December, Makarios, fearing unilateral Turkish intervention, accepted the offer of the guarantor states. It was agreed that a mixed peacekeeping force is established by the guarantor powers and led by Peter Young.

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    From Isolated to Global Emergency

    On 26 December, Makarios asked for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to air baseless charges that Turkey had committed acts of aggression.(7) ⁠

    During these appeals, Makarios mobilised over a hundred armed irregulars and tried to dislodge the Turkish Cypriots at the Girne pass. ⁠

    At that meeting, which took place on 27 December, the Greek Cypriots could not substantiate any of their charges against Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots. The meeting was then adjourned with no action being taken. The same day the British units began streaming into Lefkoşa. ⁠

    On 29 December a political committee was formed for the purpose of giving guidance to the joint peace-keeping force. ⁠

    On 30 December a neutral zone had been agreed upon and the British occupied a string of posts sandbagged by the Greek Cypriots in the latter’s preparation for hostilities against the Turks. ⁠

    On 2 January 1964, an agreement had been reached to hold a conference in London between Turkey, the UK, Greece, the Turkish Cypriots, and the Greek Cypriots, and the guarantor powers and Greek Cypriots jointly requested the UN to appoint a representative to act as UN observer on Cyprus.

    Terrorists Parrying the Threat of Intervention

    The British dispatched Duncan Sandys, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, to Lefkoşa as a mediator. ⁠

    By tolerating the presence of British troops and by pretending to be in collaboration with peace-keeping efforts while in reality undermining them at each and every single turn, Makarios had ably parried the threat of unilateral Turkish intervention. ⁠

    As long as British troops were guarding the island it seemed highly unlikely that Turkey would ever resort to force in an attempt to bring an end to the crisis. On the other hand, the British could not be everywhere at once. There were still many targets for Greek Cypriot aggression, especially in the countryside. Thus under the cover of the peace-keeping force, Makarios was able to continue his attacks on isolated pockets of Turkish Cypriot resistance.(8 ) ⁠

    Giorgio Bocca, correspondent of Il Giorno reported: “Right now we are witnessing the exodus of the Turks from their villages. Thousands of people abandoning homes, lands, herd; Greek terrorism is relentless. This time, the rhetoric of the Hellenes and the busts of Plato do no suffice to cover up barbaric and ferocious behaviour. At four o’clock in the afternoon, curfew is imposed on the Turkish villages. Threats, shootings and attempts at arson start as soon as it becomes dark. After the massacre of Christmas that spared neither women nor children, it is difficult to put up any resistance.”(9)

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    Deteriorating Ties

    During this period Makarios repeatedly tried to use the peace-keeping force to further his own aims. He asked General Young to assist the “legal state forces”, namely Yorgadjis’ private army, in attacking the Turkish Cypriot enclaves. When he didn’t comply, Makarios became angry and threatened (as he always did) to abrogate the treaties. ⁠

    But he had to backtrack when Commonwealth Secretary Sandys, in return, threatened to withdraw all British troops, and Turkey again began to “talk ominously of intervention”.(10) ⁠

    Relations between the British and Makarios deteriorated further during the weeks that followed, as British troops, with increasing frequency, rushed to help Turkish Cypriots in distress.(11)

    NATO: A New Proposal

    Eventually the British could no longer bare the burden, and so a new peace-keeping force had to be organised. They called for the formation of a 10,000 man force from NATO countries. As part of these plans Britain, Turkey, Greece, the Turkish Cypriots, and Greek Cypriots were to appoint a mutually acceptable mediator to assist in the search for a solution. ⁠

    This plan was presented on 31 January 1964 and was accepted by Turkey, Greece and the Turkish Cypriots, but it was rejected by the Greek Cypriots as “totally unacceptable”. He wanted to scrap the Zurich-London Accords, which prevented him from changing the constitution at will. A NATO force would also, he felt, reinforce the status quo. ⁠

    He instead wanted a UN peace-keeping force, for the UN was in no way committed to uphold the Zurich-London Accords and its Secretary-General, U Thant, was of the opinion that the Cyprus Problem was first and foremost a matter for the Cypriot government, which the Greek Cypriots had already hijacked and illegally occupied circa the previous month. ⁠

    The British and US governments were opposed to this, as they felt Makarios’ leaning to the Russians could embroil the island in the politics of the Cold War.

    Passing the Torch to the UN

    The Greek Cypriots used this impasse to intensify their campaign of aggression.(12)(13)(14)(15)(16)(17) ⁠

    On 15 February 1964 Makarios’ adamance forced Britain to give up on its NATO peacekeeping force idea and took the Cyprus Problem to the UN. ⁠

    On 4 March 1964, the Security Council authorised the establishment of a UN peacekeeping force under the command of the Secretary-General. ⁠

    Thus Makarios had scored a major diplomatic triumph.

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    The UN: A Platform for Expediency

    During this period Makarios announced plans for the creation of a new 5,000 man Greek-officered Greek Cypriot National Guard, to function as an auxiliary police force, in open violation of the Constitution of Cyprus. The official purpose, Makarios reiterated, was “to disarm all Turkish Cypriots”(18), absorb the various private armies under Makarios’ leadership, and give the Greek Cypriot irregulars, terrorists included, an official status in the hope that the UN peacekeeping force would recognise them as the only legitimate security force on the island and assist them in subduing the Turks. ⁠

    More offensives were launched against the Turkish Cypriots to improve their position before the arrival of the UN forces. And when the UN forces arrived they were, as Makarios had feverishly wished, just like the British peacekeeping forces before them, unable to be everywhere at once, and the Greek Cypriots, as the aggressors, could choose their objectives at will. Moreover, the UN peacekeeping force was basically powerless. According to its mandate, it could only fire if fired upon. Its only deterrent was its presence. As a result, Makarios was free to do as he pleased.

    What This All Boils Down To…

    The UN is on Cyprus because the Greek Cypriots needed them, just as they do now, in order to continue their legacy of bigotry and hatred towards their fellow human beings and neighbours. And which they are too ashamed to admit.

    And although this is all, according to multiple international observers, serious historians, foreign dignitaries, leaders of state, international organisations, and the well-documented contemporary histories of Greece and the Greek Cypriots, 100% accurate, this is, unfortunately, another truth that has somehow been cast aside in the shadows of decades of relentless Greek Cypriot propaganda.

    Contributions to peace?

    More like helping terrorists and fanatics implement a conscious policy of genocide.

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    (1) Ethnikos Kiryx, June 15, 1965 (Also quoted in Purcell, op. cit., p. 323)

    (2) Purcell, op. cit., p. 323

    (3) Refer to all the newspaper articles chastising the Greeks and calling their actions a shame on humanity… this is further supported by the fact international support was overwhelmingly with the Turks during this period.

    (4) H. Scott Gibbons, Peace Without Honour (Ankara, 1969), p. 25

    (5) Ibid, p. 34

    (6) Ibid, p. 67

    (7) Thomas Ehrlich, International Crises and the ROle of Law: Cyprus, 1958-1967 (London, 1974), p. 57

    (8 ) The Observer. Issue of 5 January, 1964

    (9) Il Giorno. Issue of 14 January, 1964

    (10) Newsweek. Issue of 13 January, 1964, p. 29

    (11) Newsweek. Issue of 9 March, 1964, p. 36

    (12) Special News Bulletin, 20 January, 1979, p. 1

    (13) Time correspondent Robert Ball witnessed an armoured Greek Cypriot assault on 6 February. Time. Issue of 14 February, 1964, p. 23

    (14) On 12 February, George Ball, US Under Secretary of State, tried to persuade Makarios to accept a revised version of the British proposal for a NATO peacekeeping force formed only of people from commonwealth countries. Makarios rejected. George Ball said Makarios was turning Cyprus into his “private abattoir”. Laurence Stern, The Wrong Horse (New York, 1977), p. 84

    (15) On 13 February a large Greek Cypriot force attack Limassol. The attack was reported by General Young. Also See: Newsweek. Issue of 24 February, 1964, p. 39

    (16) John Law. US News & World Report. Issue of 24 February, 1964, p. 77-78.

    (17) Greek Cypriot irregulars attack the Turkish Cypriot quarters of Baf (Paphos) and Polis. Altogether between 2-14 February Turkish Cypriots were forced away from sixteen villages as they fled to safer areas.

    (18) Newsweek, 9 March, 1964, p. 35

    *Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of CypriumNews.

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    Mustafa Niyazi
    Mustafa Niyazihttp://fghyHi+dr
    Who am I? I'm a teacher in China. I'm here because of some personal and private reasons. I'm also a researcher and specialist on the history of China, the Turks, Cyprus, and the Cyprus Problem, as well as systems of governance and a few other related topics. If you are interested in my ethnicity, I'm Turkish. Both my parents are Turkish Cypriot. I was born in London and I grew up there, but I traveled to the Turkish Republic of Cyprus every summer and now I'm living and working in China. Both Turkish and English are my mother language. I’m a polyglot and I can speak 3 languages fluently: Turkish, English and Mandarin Chinese, and I speak Japanese too but not confident to say it's fluent yet? If you don’t think I’m a polyglot check the Cambridge or Oxford Dictionary. "Poly" means "multiple" and "Glot" means "tongue", so yes, I am a polyglot. I am always planning to write and publish lots of Cyprus-related articles, so stay tuned if you like those types of articles. I also like writing about topics inspired by the conversations I have with others at the coffee shop or on social media etc, if I think it's related enough. I'm also an activist for Turkish Cypriot rights, human rights, and genocide awareness.  Frequently Asked Questions: - My height: 182 cm? - Do you view yourself as Turkish or British?: I am who I want to be - What's your relationship status?: I don't feel comfortable talking about that - If both your wife and mother are drowning, who will you save? Both of them - Where are you living?: Currently in Hangzhou, China - Favourite pass time: Just relaxing, thinking, watching the world go by #Turkish #British #China Disclaimer: I generally employ qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methodologies and try to be open and inclusive, and adaptive. I try to avoid the trappings of pigeon-hole research, civil pov-pushing, watered down language or tone, giving undue weight to fringe theories coming from unreliable points-of-view (POVs), or engaging in tendentious contributions.
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