3. Movement: Political Manoeuvres
Following the Tylliria battle, the Makarios government renewed its campaign to win support for its case in the United Nations. The Greek-Cypriot approach to the international community was that Cyprus, as a full member of the United Nations, was completely independent and must therefore not be subjected to threats of intervention by other states.
This approach was supported by the Soviet Union because it wanted to prevent an expansion of NATO influence in the Eastern Mediterranean. A Cyprus - U.S.S.R. Aid Agreement was signed on 30 September 1964. Support was also forthcoming from non- aligned countries who viewed Cyprus as being the unwilling pawn of the neo-colonialist power struggle. On 10 October 1964, a declaration adopted by the "Second Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries", held at Cairo, called on all states to respect the sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, and to refrain from intervening in Cypriot affairs.
On 26 March 1965, Mr. Galo Plaza, the United Nations Mediator on Cyprus tabled his report. His main recommendations were that: (1) Cyprus should remain an independent State and voluntarily renounce its right to choose union with Greece; (2) the island should be demilitarized with the question of the British sovereign bases being set aside for further consideration; (3) there should be no partition but Turkish-Cypriot rights should be guaranteed by the United Nations and supervised by a United Nations Commissioner in the island; (4) a settlement must be the outcome of talks between the communities in Cyprus; (5) the problem could not be resolved by attempting to restore the situation which existed before December 1963.
The report broadly supported the position of Greece and the Makarios government. Both accepted it as a basis for negotiations, although it was clear they would never voluntarily renounce enosis.
The Turkish government and the Turkish-Cypriot Leadership rejected the report on the grounds that the Mediator had exceeded the terms of his mandate, to promote an agreed settlement, by setting out his personal observations and recommendations without first securing the agreement of all parties to the dispute. This reasoning may have been technically correct, but there is little doubt that the Turkish government and the Turkish-Cypriot Leadership would have accepted the Mediator's report if it had been more sympathetic to their position. The resulting deadlock forced Plaza to resign his position on 22 December 1965, so that United Nations mediation might continue under another appointee. The Makarios government however refused to accept another mediator. It stated that if Turkey was permitted to force the mediator's resignation simply because his views were not to its liking, it would follow that the institution itself was under- mined and could no longer be relied upon to function objectively 28 and effectively. The Secretary-General, as an alternative, and with the consent of all affected parties, enlarged the functions of his special representative in Cyprus so as to have 29 quasi-mediational responsibilities.
On 18 December 1965, the Makarios government secured the adoption of a United Nations General Assembly resolution which appeared to support its claim for the unfettered independence of Cyprus, and to discount the Turkish claim to the right of 30. intervention based on the Zurich-London treaties of 1959. It was, in fact, a restatement of the Cairo declaration of October 1964. The way had been prepared for this resolution by a declaration of minority rights, circulated in the United Nations by the Greek-Cypriot representatives, which followed very closely the recommendations of the Mediator's report. The Greek-Cypriot government had also given a great deal of publicity to its pro- posed plans for the rehabilitation of Turkish-Cypriot refugees, and the easing of the economic blockade against the Turkish- Cypriot community.
Greeks and Greek-Cypriots regarded the passing of this resolution as the most heartening political development in the Cyprus question since the creation of the Cyprus republic. Turks and Turk-Cypriots regarded the adoption of the resolution as the most serious foreign policy set-back for years. While Greek-Cypriot representatives lobbied for unfettered independence abroad, at home Greek-Cypriot leaders continued to assure their community that they were dedicated to enosis. This concurrent agitation for independence and union with Greece was not contradictory as far as the Makarios government was concerned. The international acceptance of unfettered Cypriot sovereignty was seen as the most effective means of preventing a Turkish intervention. The Cypriot people would then be free to exercise their right of political self-determination in a plebiscite which would arm President Makarios with a democratically achieved mandate to declare the union of Cyprus with Greece (i.e. in accordance with the Akritas Plan).
While the United Nations resolution of 18 December 1965 was greeted by Greek-Cypriots as a successful culmination of their diplomatic offensive, the voting record of that resolution suggests that their conclusion was overly optimistic. The roll-call vote showed 47 states in favour, 5 opposed and 54 abstentions. Those in favour were largely non-aligned underdeveloped countries which could not offer any material support to the Greek-Cypriot cause. Those voting against the resolution were the United States, which was anxious to retain Turkey as a NATO ally; Albania, presumably because of its hostility to any expansionist plans of Greece; Turkey, and her two military allies, Iran and Pakistan.
It had become increasingly obvious to the Soviet Union by mid-1965 that Greek-Cypriot protestations about independence were in fact only part of a plan designed to achieve enosis, a by- product of which would undoubtedly be an expansion of NATO influence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Russia therefore withdrew much of its support from the Makarios government. Even before the Cyprus-U.S.S.R. Aid Agreement lapsed on 23 August 1965, the Soviet Union had assured Turkey that it supported the Turkish contention that the constitutional structure of Cyprus must be based on a partnership between the two communities, rather than on a majority-minority status. The Russians had also hinted that they would support a federal, independent Cyprus.
Following the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on Cyprus in December 1965, Turkey and Turkish-Cypriot leaders launched their own diplomatic offensive to counter the Greek-Cypriot advantage. Firstly, they endeavoured to strengthen the accord which was already being developed between Turkey and Russia. Secondly, western support was enlisted by publicizing the fact that the largest Greek-Cypriot political party was communist (i.e. AKEL) and that the Turkish-Cypriot community should be supported to counter its influence. Turkey also emphasized that it was a more strategically important NATO partner than Greece. Thirdly, Turks and Turk-Cypriots sought to enlist support from Muslim countries on the basis of a common religious heritage and the Greek-Cypriot desecration of mosques. The National Guard unwittingly aided this campaign when it prevented Turk-Cypriots from visiting the Tekke of Hala Sultan near Larnaca and allowed this shrine to fall into disrepair. Finally, the Turkish and Turk-Cypriot representatives sought to convince non- aligned governments that the Greek and Greek-Cypriot aim was not to ensure the independence of Cyprus but rather to foster the expansion of a neo-colonialist Greece. By June 1966, seven of those states which had voted for the General Assembly resolution on Cyprus six months earlier had made declarations against interpreting their vote as supporting enosis.
The Greek Army's coup on 21 April 1967 led to the diplomatic isolation of Greece, and to increased international opposition to any moves which would facilitate enosis. A priority of the Greek colonels' foreign policy programme was to improve Greek- Turkish relations. The Makarios government continued to maintain that the constitutional order in Cyprus must be negotiated by Cypriots themselves; nevertheless, it supported the opening of a Greek-Turk dialogue in September 1967 as a means of regaining the political initiative. A number of restrictions of the Turkish- Cypriot community were removed to facilitate these talks, and to support the Greek-Cypriot position during the October debates in the General Assembly. Turkish-Cypriots in Limassol and Paphos Districts were allowed to purchase items from the government's list of strategic materials. Hala Sultan Tekke was re-opened, a number of checkpoints were removed from main roads, and CYPOL searches of Turkish-Cypriots entering the Nicosia enclave were speeded up. A general amnesty was even offered to the Turkish- 34 Cypriot ' rebels'.
In light of this apparent easing in inter-communal tensions, it may seem anomalous that by mid-November 1967 the National Guard had launched their largest offensive since the Kokkina battle of August 1964, and that an invasion of Cyprus by Turkey was imminent. Nevertheless, three years of diplomatic manoeuvring had done nothing to remove the cause of inter-communal tension: the Greek-Cypriot demand that all Cyprus must be politically united with Greece; the Turk-Cypriot determination that they and their land would not be included in such a union.