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Cyprus: Turkish Expansionism

Cyprus: Turkish Expansionism

Turkish expansionistic plans regarding Cyprus were openly expressed long before the 1963 event. Numerous statements by Turkish officials provide substantial evidence that Turkey considers Cyprus part of Turkish territory.

Kemal Ataturk regarded Cyprus as being particularly important for Turkey. Professor Dervis Manizade in an article in the Instanbul daily "Milliyet" (20.7.78) quoted Ataturk as saying, while addressing military commanders:
"Pay attention to Cyprus, this island is important for us."

Ali Nesim reported in "Dogus" (20.9.84):
Ataturk, replying to a question on Cyprus after the annexation of 
Alexandretta said: "The turn of Cyprus has not yet come".

In 1954, nine years before intercommunal conflict broke out in 1963, the then Foreign Minister of Turkey F. Koprulu, declared that Cyprus is an "extention of continental Turkey" and that it should revert to Turkey "on the basis of geographical proximity".

At the Tripartite Conference on Cyprus in August-September 1955, the then Turkish Foreign Minister, Zorlu, stated:
"...The importance of Cyprus to Turkey does not arise from a single cause; it is a necessity which emanates from the exingencies of history, geography, economy and military strategy, from the right to existence and security, which is the most sacred of every state, in short, from the very nature of things".

The Turkish journalist and historian A. Gurkan, more recently, in "Kibris Postasi" (20.12.83) put it quite succinctly when he said:
"Speaking from a purely strategic point of view we could say that for Turkey's security, a safe Cyprus is a Cyprus which would be, in its entirety, under Turkish control".

But what makes Turkish expansionism even more evident are the following statements:

(a) By Gunes (former Turkish Foreign Minister) which reads:
"Cyprus is as precious as the right arm of a country which cares for her defence or her expansionistic aims if she harbours any. If we don't keep this strategic importance of Cyprus we cannot understand the peace operation of 20 July or rather it is impossible to understand the entire Cyprus crisis... Many states, to a certain extent because it suits their interest, want to see the Cyprus problem merely as our desire to protect the Turkish community on the island. Whereas the actual problem is the security of 45 million Turks in the motherland together with the Turks in the island and the maintenance of the balcance of the Middle East".

Hurriyet (20.7.80)

(b) By Ozal, former Prime Minister of Turkey who referring to the UDI of November 1983, said:
"Cyprus is an island which pierces the middle of Turkey like a dagger. It is extremely vital from the viewpoint of our security. This island should not be in enemy hands. The existence of Turks in northern Cyprus is a guarantee in this direction".

Milliyet (November 1983).

(c) By Raouf Denktash himself who stated:
"Naturally Turkey has strategic interests in Cyprus. It is fortunate for Turkey that the Turkish Cypriot community exists here. Even if the Turkish Cypriot community did not exist, Turkey would not have left Cyprus to Greece, Mr. Koruturk told me something which is very important. The honourable President had told me: 'If Cyprus passes to Greece and is militarized then Turkey ceases to be a maritime nation'. This is an extremely important factor".



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