By Ömer Bilge – LEFKOŞA
A Greek Cypriot newspaper published new documents about the violent years that led to the division of the Mediterranean island some five decades ago, including an instruction on Greek Cypriot security forces ordering that “10 Turks shall be killed for each Hellen.”
Daily Politis’ article series titled “Cyprus: Crimes that went unpunished” reported on Aug. 7 that two Greek officers and a Greek Cypriot policeman were killed in Magosa on May 11, 1964 at a time when tensions ran high amid the Greek attempt to unify the island with Greece, known as Enosis. One of the slain was Costakis Pandelidis, the son of the Greek Cypriot police director in Nicosia.
According to the report, Greek Cypriot security forces were then instructed that “10 Turks shall be killed for each Hellen” as retribution. The following day, 17 Turks were kidnapped and executed by a firing squad in Famagusta.
The killings, which are considered by Turkish Cypriots as ethnic cleansing, continued on May 13 when 11 Turkish Cypriot workers were kidnapped and killed near Paralimni Lake. Their remains were found in 2006, the report added.
The newspaper reported there were many other atrocities committed by the Greek Cypriot side and that had gone unpunished in the following decade. For instance, 126 Turks, most of them women, children and elderly, were killed and buried in mass graves in Muratağa and Sandallar villages on Aug. 14, 1974.
“Most of the killers were EOKA militants but there were also some Greek Cypriot neighbors of the Turkish victims among them,” the report said.
The newspaper also gave other examples from Greek atrocities, including the raping of Turkish women, the plundering of Turkish villages and horrific murders, such as the death of Muratağa village’s Turkish coffeeshop owner Mustafa Kukudi, who was killed by quartering of his body on Aug. 10, 1974.
Politis drew the ire of the Greek Cypriot administration because of the latest article series, which continued with a new episode on Aug. 8. The newspaper, as well as its reporters, reportedly received death threats this week.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was declared on Nov. 15, 1983. It is currently recognized only by Turkey as an independent state.
The United Nations has sought a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe’s relations with Turkey.
The latest attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in July 2017 after two years of negotiations.