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Bombardment of Nicosia in November 1967


The Greek Military Junta
(Regime of the Colonels)
The Cyprus Dispute and fall of the Junta
1964-1974: Peacemaking efforts


Sakari Tuomioja was appointed mediator by U Thant, the then UN Secretary-GeneralAt the same time as it established a peacekeeping force, the Security Council also recommended that the Secretary-General, designated a mediator to take charge of formal peacemaking efforts. U Thant, the then UN Secretary-General, appointed the Finnish diplomat Sakari Tuomioja.

Tuomioja rejected union on the grounds that it would be inappropriate for a UN official to propose a solution that would lead to the dissolution of a UN member state. The United States held a differing view. In early June, following another Turkish threat to intervene, Washington launched an independent initiative under Dean Acheson, a former Secretary of State.

The US independent peacemaking effort was led by former Secretary of State Dean AchesonIn July he presented a plan to unite Cyprus with Greece. In return for accepting this, Turkey would receive a sovereign military base on the island. The Turkish Cypriots would also be given minority rights, which would be overseen by a resident international commissioner. Makarios rejected the proposal, arguing that giving Turkey territory would be a limitation on enosis and would give Ankara too much power in the island’s affairs. A second version of the plan was presented that offered Turkey a 50-year lease on a base. This offer was rejected by the Greek Cypriots and by Turkey. After several further attempts to reach an agreement, the United States was eventually forced to give up its effort.

Following the sudden death of Ambassador Tuomioja in August, Galo Plaza was appointed to take his placeFollowing the sudden death of Ambassador Tuomioja in August, Galo Plaza was appointed to take his place. In March 1965 Plaza presented a report criticizing both sides for their lack of commitment to reaching a settlement. While he understood the Greek Cypriot aspiration of enosis, he believed that any attempt at union should be held in voluntary abeyance. Similarly, he considered that the Turkish Cypriots should refrain from demanding a federal solution to the problem.

Although the Greek Cypriots eventually accepted the report, despite of its opposition to immediate enosis, Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots rejected the plan, calling on Plaza to resign on the grounds that he had exceeded his mandate by advancing specific proposals. The Greek Cypriots, however, made it clear that if Galo Plaza resigned they would refuse to accept a replacement. U Thant was left with no choice but to abandon the mediation effort. The end of the mediation effort was effectively confirmed when, at the end of the year, Plaza resigned and was not replaced.

In November 1967, Cyprus witnessed its most severe fighting since 1964In March 1966, a more modest attempt at peacemaking was initiated under the auspices of Carlos Bernades, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Cyprus. Instead of trying to develop formal proposals for the parties to bargain over, he aimed to encourage the two sides to agree to settlement through direct dialogue. However, ongoing political chaos in Greece prevented any substantive discussions from developing. The situation changed the following year.

On 21 April 1967, a coup d'état in Greece brought a military Junta to power. Just months later, in November 1967, Cyprus witnessed its most severe fighting since 1964. Responding to a major attack on Turkish Cypriot villages in the south of the island, which left 27 dead, Turkey bombed Greek Cypriot forces and appeared to be readying itself for an intervention. Greece was forced to capitulate.

Following international intervention, Greece agreed to recall General George Grivas, the Commander of the Greek Cypriot National Guard and former EOKA leader, and reduce its forces on the island. Capitalizing on the weakness of the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots proclaimed their own provisional administration. Makarios immediately declared the new administration illegal. Nevertheless, a major change had occurred.

Along with most other Greek Cypriots, the Archbishop began to accept that the Turkish Cypriots would have to have some degree of political autonomy. He also realized that unification of Greece and Cyprus was unachievable under the prevailing circumstances. Between May 1968 and July 1974 four more rounds of talks failed because of the lack of movement of both parties. Top




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