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Friday, 2 December 2016

Turkey’s 1974 Cyprus military intervention: Can it be evaluated in the context of responsibility to protect (R2P)?

On 30 November, Altuğ Günal, who is an assistant professor at Ege Univeristy, Izmir, and an Academic Visitor at St Antony’s College, gave a talk on the events preceding the 1974 Turkish intervention on the island of Cyprus. David Madden, a Distinguished Friend of St Antony’s, was the discussant, while Yaprak Gürsoy, Academic Visitor at St Antony’s and Associate Professor at Istanbul Bilgi University chaired the seminar.

At the outset of his talk Altuğ Günal stressed the different ways the Greek and Turkish sides of the conflict interpret the same events. He also stated that he prefers to use the term Turkish “intervention” of July-August 1974 instead of “invasion,” as the Greek side believes, or the “peace operation”, as the Turkish side claims.

The main question of the talk was whether the Turkish intervention of 1974 had the right elements to call it a “just war”. The “just war” doctrine, which forms the basis of the more recent concept of “responsibility to protect” (R2P), has 6 criteria: (1) Just cause, (2) Right intention, (3) Right authority, (4) Last resort, (5) Possibility of Military Success or Reasonable Prospects, and (6) Proportionality. Although the concept cannot be used retrospectively to judge past events, seeing the intellectual rewards of such an exercise, Altug Günal applied each one of the 6 principles, which is also shared by the R2P, to the events of the “hot summer”.