Realpolitik in the Eastern Mediterranean
From Kissinger and the Cyprus Crisis to Carter and the Lifting of the Turkish Arms Embargo
by Chris P. Ioannides
The months of July-August 1974 were among the most remarkable in the history of the American republic. The Watergate scandal was reaching its climax, as President Nixon was about to resign in disgrace. It was during this period that a major crisis erupted in the Eastern Mediterranean. On July 15, 1974, the democratically elected President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, was overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the U.S. backed military junta in Athens. Five days later, Turkey invaded the island republic and within a month occupied over one-third of its territory. A Greek-Turkish war was looming on the horizon as the United States took a series of actions to prevent it.
In this book, Dr. Ioannides illuminates how preoccupation with Watergate affected decision making in Washington and how Kissinger mishandled the 1974 Cyprus crisis. A neglected aspect of this crisis has been the serious disagreement between Washington and London on how to diffuse it. Britain proposed an effective plan to deter Turkey from conquering more Cypriot territory. Kissinger vetoed the British plan and, this way, Washington became the facilitator of a second Turkish attack on Cyprus that resulted in the occupation of 38 percent of its territory.