09 March 2015

The occupier's guide to Cyprus

Al Jazeera

Whenever my septuagenarian Turkish acquaintance Mustafa imbibes a certain amount of raki, Turkey's national alcoholic beverage, he feels compelled to recount once again the story of his participation in the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish military.

In Mustafa's raki-fuelled version, the operation's swift success - which led to the deaths of thousands of Cypriots, both Greek and Turkish, and Turkey's occupation of two-fifths of the island - was largely the result of his own military prowess, enabling the recuperation of a vital component of the Turkish empire.

The reality, of course, was a bit different - and the Turks' imperial interests weren't the only ones at stake. In a 2008 essay for the London Review of Books, British historian Perry Anderson writes that "political responsibility for the disaster [in Cyprus] lay with those who allowed or encouraged it". READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA.