CYPRUS: THE UNRESOLVED CONFLICT ,
representation in it, so in 1882 the British decided to
give them nine members and the Turks three. But the Turks protested, fearing Greek domination (Loizos
This kind of defensiveness was to be a major characteristic of Turkish Cypriot behavior in the future, and the Greek Cypriots never really understood it (Loizos 19). When the struggle against the British began, the Greek Cypriots never bothered to reassure, or at least talk to, the Turkish Cypriots. This led to a situation where even though Cyprus was Great Britain's colony and both communities were being colonized, independence was not the result of a joint movement by both communities.(4)
Even before Cyprus became an independent nation, both communities had different goals and expectations. While the Greek Cypriots wanted union with Greece, the Turkish Cypriots wanted taksim (partition of the island), and by the time Cyprus achieved its independence, the two communities were not willing to live as one state (Loizos 27).
The Greek Cypriot leaders committed a serious mistake when after independence they thought of the Constitution as something to be revised in the future, instead of as an accepted compromise (Loizos 19). They continued to discuss union with Greece, even though the Constitution prohibited anything like this, and their desire for enosis became even stronger because of the special privileges the Turkish Cypriots had received under the Constitution. If the Greek Cypriots had accepted those special rights and had abandoned the desire for enosis, then the Turkish Cypriots might have been more ready for some kind of a compromise (Loisos 19). Of course, this did not happen.
Instead, President Makarios, leader of the Greek Cypriots, tried to revise the Constitution by proposing thirteen amendments. The proposals were rejected by both the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish government. Instead of trying to talk to the Turks, Makarios made the proposals public. At the same time he tried to gain international support for his case. Those proposals ended up causing the 1963-64 fighting and the U.N. involvement in Cyprus in 1964.
The Greek Cypriots committed another mistake, after 1967, when President Makarios abandoned his desire for union with Greece because of the threat of a
Turkish invasion. Now his strategy became one of
wait-and-see instead of, as Peter Loizos argues, making concessions to end the problem (19). But instead
of making concessions, the Greek Cypriots
continued their policy of trying to gain support for their case. Although they did gain international
support, this policy was blind because it refused
to recognize the legitimate demands of the Turkish Cypriots and prevented the Greek Cypriots from
talking to them and meeting at least some of their
demands (Loizos 19).
On their side, the Turkish Cypriots committed a number of mistakes as well. Although they control about 40 percent of the island's territory, almost one-third of the people are refugees and they cannot establish a smoothly functioning society (Loizos 20). For many years the Turkish Cypriots did not understand the Greek Cypriot desire to unite with Greece, and they never understood the Greeks' insecurity because of the "double minority" aspects of the Cyprus situation.(5) The Turkish Cypriots thought that the Greek Cypriot attraction to enosis reflected Greek Cypriot desire to dominate them.
A serious mistake was committed by the Turkish Cypriots when, from 1878 to 1960, they aligned themselves with the British. As Peter Loizos says, if they had not followed the policy of wait-and-see, they might have entered independence in partnership with the Greek Cypriots (19).
With independence, the Constitution provided the Turkish Cypriots with many rights and privileges. While they composed only about 18 percent of the population, they were supposed to have 30 percent of the civil service positions and a 40 percent share in the army. They also had the right to veto in all legislation, as well as other rights and privileges. However, as Robert Stephens points out, "while Makarios failed to win Turkish confidence, the Turkish Cypriots on their side showed little interest in the exercise of the disproportionate and potentially crippling powers they had been given under the Zurich Constitution. Conscious of Turkey's power at their back and Turkish troops on the island itself, they were intransigent in claiming their full rights as a separate community, even where these rights were likely to be unworkable in practice or to conflict with the interests of the State as a whole" (174).
The Turkish Cypriots insisted on having the 30