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The Turkish booty in Cyprus

Reader comment on item: Turkey in Cyprus vs. Israel in Gaza

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Aug 2, 2010 at 14:35

If one considers all the official Turkish lies as to why the Turks invaded Cyprus in July and August 1974 one comes to a very curious conclusion. So we have the following Turkish claims to a/ "restore the status of Cyprus" rendered invalid by the Greek coup d'etat , b/ "restore the overthrown government ", c/ avert "a danger of forced Enosis" and d/ carry out a "humanitrian peace operation to save the endangered Turkish Cypriots from death and destruction". All of them turned out to be either forgotten or not exactly what they were meant to be as the invading forces - despite the desperate Greek defence - gained more and more territitory. So a/ the Turks didn't care at all to restore the status of Cyprus. Quite the contrary. It is only their own policy of aggression and 'faits accomplis' that made any return to the previous status of Cyprus impossible. b/ Their reaction to the return of Makarios to Cyprus was hostile and they blamed him for the events as they had blamed the Greeks before for overthrowing the legitimate government. c/ They were angry because his coming back to the island meant that the danger of enosis was averted and hence the official third excuse for the invasion had to be dropped. At last d/ the Turkish humanitarian "peace operation" proved to be a bloody parody of what is understood under "peace operations" in civilized countries like those which provided the contingents for the US peace-keeping force in Cyprus. With 200 000 forcibly expelled persons, with napalm bombings, mass rapes , attacking and killing UN peace keeping soldiers, bombings of a Red Cross Centre (Hotel Hilton in Nicosia ) etc. etc. it was another chapter of barbarity in the otherwise so bloody and criminal historical record of the Turks.

So what is left as the ultimate explanation , leaving apart the US reasons for letting them rob Cyprus ? Historically , the Turkish invasions in Anatolia and on the Balkans may provide a clue. They had had two aims. It was first and foremost the expansion of Islam at the expense of Christianity and then plunder of infidels' land and riches. Despite its bragging of being so staunchly 'secular' the Turkish Army changed within a few years the part of Cyprus under its control into a perfect Moslem monoculture with mosques and Quranic schools everywhere, destroying almost all traces of Christianity there.

But plunder of wealth and land seizure is even more essential. It's the core issue , I think. The Turks went to Cyprus not to save anything but to rob as much land as possible for themselves under farudulent pretexts and to get in the process as much swag as possible. And they succeeded in the task amazingly well. So they didn't grab any casual land but they carefully chose for thei plunder the richest and most fertile central plain of Cyprus with most natural resources and most developed industries leaving the economically worst territories to the Greeks.

In this sense 37% of territory for 18% of the population - in itself an abnormal legal claim - means much more than the bare figures may indicate at first glance. We must remember that this 18% of the island's population had hardly contributed 3-4% to the overall amount of wealth on Cyprus before 1974 and yet now under the protection of the Turkish tanks and war planes they occupied the richest territory on Cyprus . The central plain is the most fertile part of Cyprus where almost all the production of olives and grains was concentrated . These two products were the most important export articles of Cyprus' agriculture. Furthermore, it is also here that most citrus orchards, grapeyards, vegetable gardens, poultry, pork, lamb , dairy farms, most sources of water, factories were located. Let's add to that all the quarries and half of the industrial capacities and 60 % of natural resources like copper, gypsum, pyrites, asbestos, bentonite, marble, clay earth pigment , hydrolic cements are also found in the area the Turks robbed.

So despite the fact that the Turkish bombings and shellings destroyed or damaged some 150 000 farms, factories, depots etc. the key fact remains that the Turks out of a sudden took possession of the most affluent part of the country and seized enormous booty. One might suppose therefore that with all this swag in their hands they should have prospered for years ahead without any further assistance from anywhere. And had they continued the Greeks' economic system and were as hardworking and industrious as them they might well have done so. But the Turk has a different value system and work ethics . Consequently , the newly acquired resources didn't bring the results one might have expected. Stolen goods are rarely well taken care of , stolen farms and factories even less so. The Turk occupied the empty land, settled his peasants in the abandoned farms and sent them to abandoned factories. But they failed to produce what had been produced there before. With all the resources at hand no new prosperity was created while the old booty was consumed, wasted, spoilt with the necessarily resulting economic crisis, unemployment , poverty and growing dependence on the alms from Ankara. Without some 30% of its budget covered by Turkey proper the so called 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' would have long since gone bankrupt and for that no one is to blame more than the Turks themselves. What was to hoped to become Turkey's asset became its liability. Nowadays , the Turks in the fertile north have a 50% lower per capita GDP than in the naturally poor south , although logically speaking the reverted proportion should be rather be the case. Isn't it symptomatic ? The Turk knows how to steal and destroy, not how to build and produce . One can't build economic growth on robberies as the Turks had hoped in 1974 promising a new good life to the Turkish Cypriots on the stolen Greek land. The land was stolen from the Greek but a good life didn't come to the Turk as a result.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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