EST3ECC Ethnic And Civil Conflict In Southern Europe Essay


1. What were the major turning points in the Cyprus conflict during the 1950s and 1960s and which parties played a significant role in bringing them about?
2. It is often said that foreign intervention is to blame for the Cyprus impasse. Discuss the history of this intervention and the main parties involved.
3. Discuss the role of Greek and Turkish nationalisms in the Cyprus conflict. How have these affected a potential resolution?
4. The Cyprus conflict remains one of the most long-standing ethnic conflicts of the modern era. Discuss the main reasons why the conflict remains unresolved.
5. Discuss the lead up to, as well as the immediate aftermath of, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Which particular events, parties and individuals were the catalysts for this invasion?
6. What was the impact of the 1974 Turkish invasion on both the Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities?



On 20th July 1974 the Turkish military invaded the island of Cyprus, an operation that was code named ‘Operation Attila’ by the Turkish Military. The invasion occurred 5 days after a coup d’etat in Cyprus (15th July) ordered by the military Junta of Greece with the aim to annex the island by the Greek Government. The Turkish forces, during the 1974 invasion were able to capture 3% of the island before the ceasefire was called and the military junta dissolved after which a democratic government was set up in the region (Stylianou 2016). On August, the same year, Turkey mounted a second offensive on the island, capturing 40% of its land this time before a ceasefire was called again and the United Nations Buffer Zone was set up in Cyprus, which is also called the Green Line. According to some estimates about 80% of the population of Cyprus, consisting of Greek Cypriots were expelled from ythe island during the invasion followed by the displacement of almost 60,000 Turkish Cypriots from the south to north of the island (Stylianou 2017; Mallinson and Fouskas 2017).

The aim of this essay is to discuss the impact of the Turkish invasion on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot Communities in Cyprus.


The Turkish Invasion impacted both the Greek as well as Turkish Cypriot communities, and resulted in the displacement of thousands of people from both these communities from their homes. According to the European Commission of Human Rights found Turkey Guilty of violating the European Convention of Human Rights by preventing the return of the Greek Cypriot refugees to return to their properties in the Turkish Held regions if Cyprus. It has been estimated that approximately 20,000 Greek Cypriots in the Karpass Peninsula were subjected to human rights abuses by the Turkish Authorities during 1975, breaking almost 14 articles of the European Convention of Human Rights as well as viaolated the Human Rights of several Turkish Cypriots by authorizing a military court to hold trials for the civilians (Zantides and Zapiti 2017). These reports clearly shows that both the Turkish as well as the Greek communities in the island were affected by the invasion, and Turkey played a significant role in the contribution to the misery faced by the people in the region. The European Court of Human Rights also found the Republic of Cyprus to be guilty of preventing the Turkish Cyprus citizens from voting, thereby preventing them to exercise their constitutional rights as a citizen of a democratic country (Binder 2017). At the same time, almost 70,000 Turkish Cypriots were forced to resettle from the south to the north of the island in order to take over the homes of the Greek Cypriot Refugees in the North of the Island, displacing them from their properties and homes and forcing them to face hardships in the north. The displaced Greek Cypriots soon became very isolated and started facing hostilities from the remaining Turkish Cypriot refugees in the region who were trying to resist the occupation (Stiansen and Voeten 2018).

Later investigations on the missing persons also revealed that thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriot remains buried beneath the ground. The excavations and DNA analysis revealed that several riots broke out throughout the island which pitted the Greek Cypriots against the Turkish Cypriots as a result of which there have been several deaths from both the communities and several individuals being reported missing, their bodies never found till date (Erdem and Greer 2018). During these riots several acts of vandalism and looting also started occurring in the afflicted regions and mutual acquisitions were made for the destruction of the cultural heritages like old mosques and churches being destroyed on both the sides of Cyprus. Rare artifacts such as sixth century Byzantine mosaics and twelfth to fifteenth century frescos on church walls were sold off to foreign nations. Thus as a result of the fiasco the ensued the Tuirkish invasion in Cyprus, a significant part of the historical and cultural heritage of the nation were forever lost or destroyed and irreparable damage was caused to both the Turkish and Greek communities who have co-inhabiting the island for centuries (Agathangelou 2017). The problems became more acute when about 120 settlers from mainland Turkey were brought to the island, relocating them from their homes in Turkey and forcing them to live in Cyprus in a bid to replace the Greek Cypriots living in the region. This not only afflicted the livelihoods of thousands of Greek Cypriots who now had to look for other places to settle in, but also of that of the Turkish Settlers, much of whom were reluctant to relocate outside their country. The Human Rights Commission also saw such as act by Turkey as an illegal attempt towards changing the demographic structure of a region and being similar to the ethnic cleansing. Such acts drove the wedge between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities even deeper, with the Turkish Cypriots declaring their own independence from the Greek dominated side of Cyprus, keeping their own autonomous government (Burke 2017). By 1984, after a series of conflicts and attempts towards a negotiation that would last between the Greek and Turkish sides, it was declared that Cyprus would become a bi-communal, bi-zonal and a non0aligned federation. This would literally imply a permanent divide between the Greek and Turkish communities, and provide 29% of the federal state to the Turkish side while the rest was allocated to the majority captured Greek side (Stylianou 2016).

Regardless of how the conflict is seen, it can be observed that citizens from both sides of the conflict were the ultimate victims of the battle. Thousands of Turkish citizens resettled from their homelands, thousands of Greek Cypriots being evicted from their homes forcibly and made to live as refugees in their own country and several others dying in the conflict and families broken was the aftermath. This gave rise to further conflicts between the two communities, where citizens openly targeted each other without any interventions from the governments and sometimes even supported by the governments to root out the remaining settles of the opposing sides from living in their territories. Neighbors turned on each other, friendships forged for years were instantly shattered and the peace that existed between the Greeks and Turks on the island of Cyprus was gone, and the nation was torn in two halves at the wake of the mournful incident (Mallinson and Fouskas 2017; Stylianou 2017; Zantides and Zapiti 2017).


The 1974 Turkish invasion was triggered by a Greek led military coup that aimed to transfer the control of the island to the Greek government. The Turkish invasion was primarily to overcome the Greek influence, and take over Cyprus. Turkey led two successive invasions to Cyprus, capturing almost 40% of the island. The Turkish government further brought thousands of Turkish citizens into the island in order to replace the Greek Cypriot Refugees living in the territories occupied by them. Several human rights violations have been made by both the Turkish Government as well as the Cyprus Government, resulting in the sufferings of both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot Communities, from which they are still being afflicted.

Section B: The role of foreign intervention in the Greek Civil War. Why were so many, external parties, interested in controlling the war’s Outcome and what was the result of this constant intervention?


Between 1946 to 1949, a civil war started between The Greek Government Army and Greek Communist Party (KKE). This civil conflict has been considered by many authors as one of the first proxy wars during the cold war in which conflicting foreign countries started a conflict in a different country in an attempt to influence the country towards their own political agenda (Kovras and Stefatos 2015; Voglis 2017). The following essay tries to discuss the impact of foreign influence on the Greek Civil War and how it influenced the outcome of the war.


The Greek Government Army was backup up my the Allied Superpowers United States of America and United Kingdom who wanted a democratic rule in Greece and wanted Greece as a platform to fight the spread of communism in the region. After the end of the German-Italian occupation of Greece after the Second World War gave way to a conflict between two powers, the Allied (Democratic) and the Axis (Communist) nations over who can secure power in the region. Either sides saw the other as a potential abomination of the society and tried its best to prevent the spread if their political influence over other countries (Close 2014). Greece became one of the first countries where United States and Soviet Russia waged a proxy war against each other on a foreign soil by inciting a conflict from within. Untited States and United Kingdom considered it in their own self interest to support the growth of democratic power in Greece and thus backed up the Greek Government which was democratic. Both the countries started giving funds to Greece, with Great Britain spending over 85 million pounds between 1944 to 1947 and United Later stepping in to continue its funding after Britain was unable to continue doing so. The funding was aimed to support Greece fight against the communist pressure and maintain a democratic control over the region (Conway 2017).

The Greek Communist Party was supported by the Communist countries of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania, all of whom wanted a Communist control on the country and mobilized the communist faction of Greeks to fight against their democratic government and the influence of United States and United Kingdom. The Bulgarian government started supporting the communist guerillas known as the Eamovulgari to fight against the Monarchofasistes or Monarch fascists represented by the Greek Government. According to the communist guerillas, the democratic government was oppressing the people, and they intended to fight against the oppression and end the influence of United States and United Kingdom on Greece. The communist countries saw their influence on Greece as a threat to the spread of communism in Europe therefore helping the Communist Faction in Greece to fight against the government (Papathanasiou 2017; DeRosa 2018).


It can therefore be concluded that due to the influence of the foreign countries, the conflict between the Greek Government and the Greek Communist Party escalated quickly into a full blown civil war in a bid to develop a democratic or communist control in the country as a strategic proxy war between the democratic and communist power during the Cold War.


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DeRosa, M., 2018. The Politics of Dissolution: Quest for a National Identity and the American Civil War. Routledge.

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Papathanasiou, I., 2017. The Cominform and the Greek Civil War, 1947–49. In The Greek Civil War (pp. 57-72). Routledge.

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Stylianou, A., 2017. An investigation into how Greek Cypriots throughout the Hellenic diaspora have been affected by the missing persons of Cyprus from the 1974 Turkish invasion. Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand).

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Zantides, E. and Zapiti, A., 2017. Strike A Pose: The Semiotics Of Electoral Images In Cyprus After State Independence In 1960 Until 2013. TICS, p.424.

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