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Jan Asmussen

Abstract

A distinct Cypriot history as opposed to a Greek and Turkish national narrative did not appear before the catastrophe of 1974. Even after that, no consensus on the main parameters of recent Cypriot history emerged. One unifying element, however, did exist to which most Cypriots from different communities and political factions adhere, and this is the widespread conviction that Cyprus has fallen victim to foreign powers. According to this school of thought no violence would have occurred if not for the poisonous influence of Anglo-American conspiracy. Far from being confined to popular discourse, this theory exists and repeats itself in academic circles and ‘scholarly’ research. It seems to provide a comfortable – yet dangerous – exit from considering each other’s responsibilities for various aspects of the ‘Cyprus problem’. In order to put major conspiracy theories to the test, some aspects of British colonial policy in Cyprus and British-American involvement in the Cyprus Crisis of 1974 will be examined here. The intention is to exemplify the thorny passage to a future scholarship-based rewriting of a common Cypriot history.

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Keywords

conspiracy theories, diplomatic history, British colonial administration, American diplomacy, 1974 crisis in Cyprus

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