273. Telegram From the Embassy in Turkey to the Department of State0

953. Paris pass SHAPE POLAD for information. Rome pass CINCSOUTH POLAD for information. Embtel 930.1

GOT’s growing concern with consequences Cyprus municipalities dispute reported reference telegram and its position on dispute and ramifications thereof have been reported Embtel 8512 and previous. Purpose this message is clarify political basis for GOT position.

GOT has reacted strongly to possible termination Turkish municipalities primarily because it considers such move threat to principle of inviolability Cyprus constitution and London–Zurich Agreements. Turks’ view, reiterated to us on many occasions, and stated categorically by Foreign Minister Erkin during recent GNA debates on foreign policy, is that if infringement or deviation from constitution is once allowed it will open door to proposals and pressures for further changes, thus undermining whole carefully balanced Cyprus structure. Fundamental underlying concern is that breakdown GOC structure would lead to Enosis with Greece. Consequences, they believe, could be disastrous not only for Cyprus but for Turk-Greek relations and NATO solidarity.

Also relevant to understanding GOT attitude is importance which Foreign Office officials have always attached to developing climate confidence between Greek and Turk Cypriot communities. Now appears that as result Makarios handling municipalities question GOT has lost much of faith it may have had in his assurances good intentions toward Turk community.

Would be mistake interpret GOT position of moderation and patience as sign of weakness. Since May 1960 revolution GOT has based its Cyprus policies on full support and respect for London–Zurich Agreements and has refrained from attempting exploit problems Turkish Cypriots for domestic political purposes. On contrary when feelings have begun rise here, e.g. following bombings of Bayraktar Mosque, GOT has taken hand in keeping them within bounds. However, this does not mean that GOT views Cyprus with decreasing importance but simply that GOT has tried to follow what it believes to be correct, consistent policy on Cyprus.

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Moreover, difficulties and vulnerability present coalition government vis-à-vis its various domestic opponents impel it resist any attempt undermine rights and guarantees afforded Turkish Cypriot community by agreements and constitution. GOT sincerely wishes avoid serious trouble between Cypriot communities, yet government has probably concluded that to acquiesce in concessions on constitutional principle involved in municipalities question might well cause it insuperable difficulties with GNA, press and public opinion. Recent consideration Turk foreign policy and Foreign Office budget in GNA has clearly demonstrated GNA solidarity on Cyprus policy, and criticisms confined generally to demands for tougher line implementing that policy. Thus, given Prime Minister Inonu’s determination make present coalition work because alternatives seem fraught with uncertainty, we assume he will exert strong effort prevent Cyprus becoming potentially serious issue for his government. What may therefore appear as rigid GOT attitude on municipalities question is product of conviction necessity maintaining Cyprus constitution coupled with sense self-preservation on part coalition government.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 18 Cyp. Confidential. Repeated to Athens, Nicosia, London, Istanbul, Paris, and Rome.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 272.
  3. Telegram 851, January 29, reported the views of the Turkish Government on the Cypriot municipalities question. (Department of State, Central Files, 780A.00/1–2963)