162. Defense Intelligence Agency Intelligence Appraisal1




President Makarios has announced that he will return to Cyprus on 7 December. Greek and Greek-Cypriot leaders have reportedly reached a common negotiating position on Cyprus, but Makarios has yet to give his written endorsement and is apparently allowing himself maximum maneuvering room. The Cypriot Police and National Guard will provide the Archbishop’s security. Although anti-Makarios factions will not now forcibly oppose Makarios’ return for the sake of unity, dissident elements could attempt to assassinate him. EOKA–B and the Cypriot National Guard (CNG) will respond to Athens, which has backed the Archbishop’s return. Athens will withdraw its support, however, if Makarios reneges on agreements made to assure his return. Turkey believes Makarios’ return will lead to hostilities in the Greek sector and are prepared to initiate a military operation to liberate Turkish Cypriots in the south. Turkish forces on Cyprus and some air and Jandarma elements on the mainland have been placed on alert. No Turkish offensive will be undertaken unless Turkish-Cypriot safety in the Greek sector is threatened, or they are not allowed to migrate north.


Recent events made it necessary for Greek and Greek-Cypriot leaders to reach a common position on Cyprus so there would be no misinterpretation by the Turks as to who had responsibility for actions on the island. Agreement on a Cyprus negotiating position with Makarios returning as President, and Clerides as the negotiator was reached at a 30 November Athens meeting between Makarios, Acting Cypriot President Clerides, and Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis. Although previously calling for a multi-cantonal federation, Makarios reportedly agreed to a geographic federation based on one major Turkish zone and possibly one or two cantons. However, he deferred formalizing the agreement at that time and reportedly will not sign the agreement until after his arrival on the island. Believing biregional federation to be the only viable solution, the Turks are adamantly opposed to a [Page 550] cantonal system. Makarios has recently been publicly noncommittal, allowing himself maximum maneuvering room for the negotiation. There is no guarantee that he will honor any final negotiated settlement achieved by Clerides.

Massive crowds of Greek Cypriots are expected to greet Archbishop Makarios upon his 7 December arrival on Cyprus. They see him as the only leader capable of restoring their rights. Makarios realizes the difficulties that face him upon his return to Cyprus but feels confident. Due to his unpredictability, it is impossible to gauge accurately the course of events that will take place.

Greek Reaction to Makarios’ Return

The Cypriot Police (CYPOL) and the CNG have been charged with the Archbishop’s personal security and the island’s internal security, respectively. They are believed capable of performing their missions, and Makarios’ Tactical Reserve Force (TRU), a special unit used before the coup to combat EOKA–B, has not been activated.

While most Greek officers in the CNG believe that Makarios is dangerous and therefore do not support his return at this time, they will respond to orders from Athens. Athens has backed the Archbishop’s return since to do otherwise would evoke an unfavorable response from the populace on the mainland. However, Athens will probably withdraw its support of Makarios if he reneges on agreements made to assure his return. Makarios fears the Turks, and the threat of such a loss will influence any decision he makes.

Although the anti-Makarios factions of which EOKA–B is the best organized and most feared do not approve of his return, they will not interfere for the sake of unity. The enosist movement—union of Cyprus with Greece—reportedly will take a wait-and-see approach and will follow instructions received from the Greek Government. The possibility remains, however, that dissident elements within the organization could attempt to assassinate him, triggering widespread Greek-Cypriot civil disorders and probably leading to renewed Turkish military actions.

[less than 1 line not declassified] expects some minimal anti-Makarios activity after his arrival. The pro-Makarios factions—Lyssarides’ para-military force and the Communist Party (AKEL)—will gain sufficient strength and confidence after Makarios’ return. This could lead to a confrontation between them and EOKA–B. Makarios must control his supporters if internecine fighting is to be prevented.

Turkish Reaction To Makarios’ Return

Makarios’ poor treatment of Turkish Cypriots and his obstructionism during six years of intercommunal talks aimed at giving the Turkish Cypriots civil rights are the primary reasons for Turkey’s opposition to him. Turkey has attempted to pressure the Greek Government into [Page 551] obstructing his return, warning that Ankara will not negotiate with Clerides if they believe that he is a front for Makarios.

The safety of Turkish Cypriots in the south will be the main factor influencing a decision for a renewed Turkish offensive. Clerides and Denktash have made progress on the refugee issue and several thousand Turks have been quietly allowed to migrate to the north. If Makarios tries to stop this or if his return leads to disorders among Greek Cypriots, which threaten Turkish Cypriot safety, Turkey will initiate a new “peace offensive” aimed at liberating “once and for all” Turkish Cypriots in the Greek-controlled area.

Turkish forces are on alert, and military exercises, from which their forces could launch an attach with little or no warning, are planned. Other precautionary measures include alerting selected mainland air force units and a 5,000-man Jandarma contingent for movement to Cyprus should hostilities resume.

Turkey will accept no delaying tactics by Makarios and will proclaim an independent Turkish-Cypriot Republic if necessary. Turkey hopes to avoid this, however, since it would preclude any Turkish influence in Greek Cypriot affairs and would institutionalize Greek military presence on the island.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, National Security Council Staff for Europe, Canada, and Ocean Affairs: Convenience Files, 1974–1977, Box 5, Europe, Cyprus 1974. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem; No Dissem Abroad; Background Use Only. Prepared by Robert P. Myers, DI–5. Released by Colonel John J. Madigan, Assistant Deputy Director for Intelligence/National Military Intelligence Center.