The recent release of archives relating to the Cyprus War of 1974 shed completely fresh light on the lead-up to the Turkish landing on the island and its aftermath. This book, based on the records from the British and American governments, for the first time unpicks the truth behind this controversial conflict, the effects of which are still felt today: namely that, although there was no British-American involvement in the coup that overthrew Archbishop Makarios in July 1974, some members of British and American intelligence knew about Athens’ plans for a coup to occur at some point in the autumn of 1974 but were surprised by the earlier timetable. Equally controversially, Asmussen explores why both the British and the Americans decided not to inform the Cyprus government as well as the reasons behind Britain’s surprising reluctance to exercise her right of intervention on the island.
Asmussen analyzes the background to the 1974 war as well as the long shadow it casts right up to the failure of the Annan plan in 2004 and Turkey’s campaigns to join the European Union. This is a vital re-reading, in the light of recently released documents, of a long-running conflict in the eastern Mediterranean, now transported to the heart of the European Union. It will be an essential source for anyone interested in British or American diplomatic affairs as well as the history of Cyprus.