Cyprus: Diplomatic History and the Clash of Theory in International Relations

By Dodd, Clement | International Journal of Turkish Studies, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Cyprus: Diplomatic History and the Clash of Theory in International Relations


Dodd, Clement, International Journal of Turkish Studies


WILLIAM MALLINSON, Cyprus: Diplomatic History and the Clash of Theory in International Relations (London, New York. I.B. Tauris, 2010), Pp. 228, £56.00 cloth

The author begins by stating that this book "uses the most recent diplomatic documents available on Cyprus to illustrate the latest state of the practice and theory of international relations." The documents are those "excavated" from the British National Archives, and published American documents." No books by Turkish authors are cited in the bibliography.

The first two chapters are devoted to a critique of international relations theories, which are rejected in favor of the author's own "geo-historical approach," distinguished from "geo-politics," which "ignores the true ingredients of international relations: the human factor itself" (p. 7). "The basics for understanding relations are simple human characteristics" (p. 10), the vices and the virtues. After reviewing "the maelstrom of international relations theories" the author asserts that his own geo-historical approach "is the most detailed and simple way of understanding Cyprus" (p. 24).

After two general background chapters on "Greece, Cyprus and the Politics of Geography" and on "Geohistory and the Greek Civil War" there are accounts of events in the history of Cyprus from 1950 to 1974 in which much is made of the British policy, in 1955, to involve Turkey in the Cyprus problem. In fact, by then the Turkish government had been alerted to the issue by persistent Turkish Cypriot lobbying, by nationalist student demonstrations in Turkey, and by the Turkish press.

The 1960 Constitution, we are told, was "an extremist paradise . . . and bore little relation to the democratic principles of democratic rule" (p. 99). Since the Turkish Cypriots were alarmed by decades of Greek Cypriot enotist propaganda and very responsive to growing Turkish nationalism, it was hardly realistic, as is suggested in this study, to try to turn the Turkish Cypriots into a perpetual minority. This seems to have been realized by Greece and Turkey during their Zurich negotiations. There are other questionable assertions. Notably, Security Council Resolution 186 of 4 March 1964 is said to have occurred "to the irritation of Turkey"! It was very much more than that: its references to the "Government of Cyprus" opened the way to subsequent international recognition by all states, save Turkey, of the then purely Greek Cypriot government in power after the Turkish Cypriots had fled their offices. …

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