[ilds] evil empire

Richard Pine richardpin at eircom.net
Thu Jul 12 01:41:39 PDT 2007

We have to remember that the 'occupation' or, worse, 'protectorate' status of most of the Med was dictated by the strategies of the 'Great Powers' - in 1814-15 Britian did not want Corfu, but was prevailed upon to take it, as part of a carve-up of the strategic islands etc. in the Med - it was part of the gradual diminution of the 'Sick Man of Europe' (ie Turkey) which didn't stop until the WW1. And remember also that the last accretion of territory to the modern state of Greee was in 1947 (the same year as Indian independence) when the Brits (LD included) supervised the handover of the Dodecanese islands from Italian (and previously Ottoman) rule to Greek - these islands had never previously been part of Greece, so that Greece's territorial growth since 1830 has been truly remarkable as a reflection of Balkan politics during that period. If you are a small nation, in the wake of the big boys' wars you may win, you may lose, but you can very rarely say and get what you want.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael Haag 
  To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca 
  Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 9:52 PM
  Subject: Re: [ilds] evil empire

  In 1878 the British occupied Cyprus by treaty arrangement with the Ottoman Empire; this arrangement was part of an alliance by which Britain gave support to the Ottoman Empire against Russia. The island remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 1914 when the Ottomans entered the First World War on the German side, and so the British annexed Cyprus. 

  British expenditure on Cyprus always exceeded revenues from the island; British rule was the first in the whole history of Cyprus to be in any way benevolent. The British had an interest, of course, and still have an interest, that is in the general situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, for which reason Cyprus was to serve as a base and indeed still serves as a major British military base. 

  The argument presented by Durrell in Bitter Lemons is how the British could ease themselves from their post-1914 position to one similar to today, and in fact he supported a twenty-year transition period. There were powerful real-world reasons for the position advocated by Durrell; the Greek Cypriots chose otherwise. They entirely discounted the Turks on the island, and more stupidly still they entirely discounted Turkey.

  By choosing to pretend that there are no real-world conditions affecting their demands, the Greek Cypriots brought their present problems on themselves. Not that they accept that, and so of course they blame. 


  On Wednesday, July 11, 2007, at 08:47 pm, Vittorio Celentano wrote:

    Nevertheless the Greek assumption that with British goodwill the island could have been swiftly transferred, complete with sleeping Turks, to Greek rule without serious conflict may well be questioned. 


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