1964-74 Situation: Separate Communal Life

Cyprus Table of Contents

By the spring of 1964, the legislature was effectively a Greek Cypriot body. Turkish Cypriot representatives, like their counterparts in the civil service, feared for their safety in the Greek-dominated parts of Nicosia, and did not participate.

Turkish Cypriots have argued that what they considered their involuntary nonparticipation rendered any acts of that parliament unconstitutional. Greek Cypriots have maintained that the institutions continued to function under the constitution, despite Turkish Cypriot absence.

In 1964 the Greek Cypriot-controlled House of Representatives passed a number of important pieces of legislation, including laws providing for the establishment of an armed force, the National Guard, and for the restoration to the government of its rights to impose an income tax. Other laws altered the government structure and some of the bicommunal arrangements, including abolishing separate electoral rolls for Greek and Turkish Cypriots, abolishing the Greek Cypriot Communal Chamber, and amalgamating the Supreme Constitutional Court and the High Court of Justice into the Supreme Court.

Reaction of the Turkish Cypriot judiciary to this judicial change was apparently not unfavorable, since a Turkish Cypriot was named president of the Supreme Court. He assumed his post, and other Turkish Cypriot judges returned to the bench. For about two years, Turkish Cypriot judges participated in the revised court system, dealing with both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In June 1966, however, the Turkish Cypriot judges withdrew from the system, claiming harassment. The Turkish Cypriot leadership directed its community not to use the courts of the republic, to which, however, they continued to be legally entitled, according to the Greek Cypriots. In turn, the judicial processes set up in the Turkish Cypriot community were considered by the Greek Cypriot government to be without legal foundation.

The establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot administration evolved in late 1967, in the wake of renewed intercommunal hostilities. Turkish Cypriot leaders, on December 29, 1967, announced the formation of a "transitional administration" to oversee the affairs of the Turkish Cypriot community "until such time as provisions of the 1960 constitution have been fully implemented." The administration was to be headed by Küçük as president and Rauf Denktas (the former president of the Turkish Cypriot Communal Chamber, who had been living in exile in Turkey) as vice president.

The fifteen Turkish Cypriot former members of the republic's House of Representatives joined the members of the Turkish Cypriot Communal Chamber to constitute a Turkish Cypriot legislative assembly. Nine of the members were to function as an executive council to carry out ministerial duties. President Makarios declared the administration illegal and its actions devoid of any legal effect.

On February 25, 1968, Greek Cypriots reelected Makarios to office, in the first presidential election since 1960, by an overwhelming majority. Running against a single opponent campaigning for enosis, Makarios won about 96 percent of the votes cast.

Intercommunal talks for a solution to the constitutional crisis began on June 24, 1968, and reached a deadlock on September 20, 1971. Talks resumed in July 1972, in the presence of UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and one constitutional adviser each from Greece and Turkey. Both sides realized that the basic articles of the constitution, intended to balance the rights and interests of both communities, had become moot and that new constitutional arrangements had to be found.

At the same time, extralegal political activities were proliferating, some based on preindependence clandestine movements. The emergence of these groups, namely, the National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston B--EOKA B) and its Turkish Cypriot response, the Turkish Resistance Organization (Türk Mukavemet Teskilâti--TMT), were eroding the authority of conventional politicians. There were mounting calls for enosis from forces no longer supportive of Makarios, notably the National Guard, and there was a radical Turkish Cypriot reaction.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress