Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
Print this page Print Bookmark and Share
Media Watch 2005

09 January 2005
Source: Cyprus Mail Letters
Author:
Comment: The following letter appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 9 January 2005.
Don't give Britain too much credit
"In 1964 it was the Johnson letter that had prevented a Turkish intervention, and the British supported US government plans to overthrow Makarios in 1964; while in 1974 it seems that the British were unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities to Cyprus."

It is indeed very interesting that the British Government had contingency plans drawn to reinstate President Archbishop Makarios after the coup. This means that they a) recognised that they had a right to intervene as stipulated in the Zurich-London Accords; b) that they considered the Sampson regime to be illegitimate; c) that they also recognised the potential catastrophic results of the coupists; and d) that they were prepared to do something about it. Why they didn't propose to act alone when Ecevit travelled to London to seek an Anglo-Turkish intervention or even united as he asked of them, remains to be answered.

Makarios Droushiotis said that after 1957, when Americans took over the role of the main player in the region, Britain supported the Cypriots. This is quite a generalisation, and certainly untrue. In the first instance, the British never offered to leave the island and were taken by surprise when a solution granted Cyprus independence. The process of negotiating the size of the bases was not prolonged by Makarios, but by the British demands for more land than they had themselves wanted in 1957 when the trocondominium plan was first proposed. But because Cyprus was to gain full independence, they decided to seek more territory.

Furthermore, Droushiotis' claim that "in 1964 when there was a danger of an invasion, it was the British that restored order, and in 1974 as well," is quite untrue. In 1964 it was the Johnson letter that had prevented a Turkish intervention, and the British supported US government plans to overthrow Makarios in 1964; while in 1974 it seems that the British were unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities to Cyprus."