A One-Sided Coin: A Critical Analysis of the Legal Accounts of the Cypriot Conflicts
Nico Wouters and Berber Bevernage, Palgrave Handbook on State Sponsored History since 1945; Forthcoming
10 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017 Last revised: 22 Oct 2020
Date Written: March 7, 2017
This chapter seeks to compare and contrast the series of legal cases that were launched by the Republic of Cyprus, both in domestic and international courts, in response to the coup d’état and the Turkish military invasion of 1974. An analysis of this case law suggests that the Republic of Cyprus reacted to the two events in very different ways: while the response to the coup was sporadic and disorganised, the legal action taken against Turkey concerning the consequences of the invasion was well-planned and executed. Additionally, the ways in which the cases have been subsequently used by the state in order to shape the popular narrative concerning the two historical events also differ. The tendency discussed here – to use the law in order to provide greater or lesser authority to historical claims – is not unique to Cyprus. However, the close temporal proximity between the two events in question, both taking place in 1974, and the strikingly different responses to them by the state make for a particularly interesting comparison. The contrast between these varied state reactions offers a partial explanation for why the two events are remembered so differently by the Greek Cypriot public: barely in the case of the coup and vividly in that of the invasion.
Keywords: legal history; historical narrative; Cyprus; invasion; coup
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation