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Turks in Cyprus and the real reason for the Greek coup

Reader comment on item: Cyprus on the World Stage

Submitted by George Philip (United Kingdom), Oct 11, 2011 at 16:22

Very interesting piece. Just a couple of technical points. The Turkish community in Cyprus was not formed by post-1570 settlement by Turks from Anatolia. Rather, in the usual Ottoman way, the Turkish community in Cyprus developed through conversion of the existing population, either through coercion or by offering enhanced benefits and rights. As is well known, non-Muslims in the Ottoman empire lived in a state of dhimmitude and the advantages of becoming a Muslim were, for some, too good to resist.

Also, regarding Greece's coup in 1974; it's wrong to suggest this was done in order to annex the whole of Cyprus. The more likely scenario is that the coup was intended to bring about a form of partition or double union, i.e. to facilitate the annexation of the larger part of Cyprus, the Greek junta was prepared to hand over maybe 15 percent of the island to Turkey. There is no way the Greek junta intended to annex all of Cyprus. The Turks took the opportunity of disarray in the Greek camp – Greek Cypriots strenuously resisted the coup – to bring about partition on its own terms, by invading and seizing a third of the island.

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