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Kissinger Owed an Apology to Greece and Cyprus

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Henry Kissinger was accused of being an appeaser of Turkey. Credit: Public Domain

A year before Henry Kissinger’s death Michael Rubin, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute wrote a polemic calling on him to apologize to Greece and Cyprus over his role during the Turkish invasion of 1974.

Writing in the Washington Examiner, Rubin, who has previously worked at the Pentagon, said that Turkey is “now more of a liability to Western security than it is an asset.”

He noted that Iraq, Syria, Armenia, Greece, and Cyprus all grapple with Turkish aggression. Turkey victimizes religious minorities at home and abroad, and ethnic cleansing continues.

“Despite it all, Western appeasement of Turkey also continues,” the American historian said.

Kissinger appeased Turkey and betrayed Greece and Cyprus in 1974

Rubin, who has lectured in history at Yale University, Hebrew University, and Johns Hopkins University among other institutions, takes issue with Henry Kissinger whose appeasement of Turkey led to the invasion and occupation of Cyprus.

The decisions he made then, he argued, “have greater consequences today than those surrounding the Vietnam War. While time overcame enmity in Southeast Asia, Kissinger’s decisions in the Eastern Mediterranean at best froze an otherwise resolvable crisis and at worst might spark renewed conflict.”

In his article for the Washington Examiner, Rubin told the story of Kissinger’s appeasement of Turkey prior to and during the invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

“There is no American reason why the Turks should not have one-third of Cyprus,” Kissinger counseled President Gerald Ford, who had assumed the presidency just days before.

“The Turkish tactics are right—grab what they want and then negotiate on the basis of possession,” he added. Kissinger privately greenlighted the land grab in conversations with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

What Kissinger never explained was why it made sense to betray an ally like Greece, Rubin said.

Kissinger signaled that aggression works

Kissinger’s moves signaled to the broader Turkish establishment that aggression works, he added.

“No matter what their provocation, Turkish leaders now believe that Washington will defer to their size and throw any smaller country under the bus,” he said. “Not only does the northern part of Cyprus, therefore, remain Europe’s last occupied territory, but Erdogan now believes force might win him possession of Greece’s Aegean islands.”

“Kissinger was wrong, and it will take crippling sanctions on Turkey, an end to the Cyprus military embargo, and further U.S. deployments in the Eastern Mediterranean to right historic wrongs and deter new conflict,” Rubin admitted.

“In the meantime, Kissinger should apologize to Greece and Cyprus,” the American historian argued. “There would be no better way to signal to Turkey that its age of imperialism is over.”

In June 2017, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed a criminal complaint against Rubin in Turkish courts, accusing him of “supporting and committing offenses for the Fethullahist Terror Organization.”

In December 2017, a Turkish national offered a reward of three-million Turkish lira (almost $800,000) for help in delivering Rubin to Turkey to answer to Turkish terrorism allegations in connection with the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt.

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