Turkish Resistance Organisation
|Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı
|Participant in Cypriot intercommunal violence and Turkish invasion of Cyprus|
17,151 (in 1974)
The Turkish Resistance Organisation (Turkish: Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı – TMT) was a Turkish Cypriot pro-taksim paramilitary organisation formed by Rauf Denktaş and Turkish military officer Rıza Vuruşkan in 1958 as an organisation to counter the Greek Cypriot Fighter's Organisation EOKA and also to force partition of the island.
The Greek Cypriot paramilitary organization, EOKA started its anti-British activities for Enosis, the union of the island with Greece. This caused a "Crete syndrome" within the Turkish Cypriot community, as its members feared that they would be forced to leave the island in such a case as was the case with Cretan Turks; as such, they preferred the continuation of the British rule and later, taksim, the division of the island. Due to the Turkish Cypriots' support for the British, the EOKA leader Georgios Grivas declared them an enemy.
The first underground organization formed by Turkish Cypriots to oppose enosis was Volkan. This organization was founded in 1956 or September 1955 according to different sources, and purportedly with the support of the British administration. Roni Alasor, however, claims that TMT's organisation structure and base had been formed as early as 1950 with its centre in Yenişehir, Ankara. During this period, other resistance organizations were founded, such as the Turkish Resistance Legion for the Movement Legion (KİTEM), 9 September Front or Kara Çete ("Black Gang"), which reportedly had the support of Fazıl Küçük, but these turned out to be unsuccessful attempts and joined Volkan.
The exact date of establishment of the TMT varies across several sources, the given dates are 15 or 23 November 1957. Rauf Denktaş, however, claimed that the organization was established on 27 November. The establishment took place in the house of Kemal Tanrıverdi in Nicosia, the Turkish Cypriot attaché at the Turkish embassy, with the participation of Denktaş and Burhan Nalbantoğlu. Its declaration of establishment, which called all Turkish Cypriot members of resistance organizations to unite under the TMT, was printed on 26 November 1957 by the Lefkoşa Türk Lisesi (Nicosia Turkish High School). Initially, it only had about 100 members.
The TMT was initially formed with a local initiative, with the aims of raising awareness in Turkey about the Cypriot issue and military training and supply for Turkish Cypriot fighters. However, its leaders were aware that such an organization would not be popular without Turkish support, and thus, no organization or efforts to establish a leadership took place at this time. On 2 January 1958, Denktaş and Küçük flew to Ankara to meet with Fatin Rüştü Zorlu. In the meeting, Zorlu asked them if they would be able to receive the weapons sent by Turkey, and Denktaş replied positively, after which Zorlu brought the issue to the attention of the Chief of Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces. After several months of consideration, Turkey decided to support the organization on the condition that Turkish support would be kept secret. Daniş Karabelen was assigned to organize the TMT's foundation.
General Daniş Karabelen, in charge of unconventional warfare office of Turkey, was leading the irregular Turkish Cypriot attacks on Greek Cypriot properties. The Turkish state in 1950s had sent to Cyprus Turkish officers and special forces veterans who arrived secretly and presented themselves as bankers, teachers and business men and trained Turkish Cypriots in tactics of unconventional warfare.[page needed]
In response to the growing demand for Enosis (union of Cyprus with Greece), a number of Turkish Cypriots became convinced that the formation of an ethnic-Turkish resistance movement was the only way to protect the interests and identity of the Turkish Cypriot population against a militant Greek Cypriot threat. TMT used the symbol of the Gray Wolf (Turkish: Bozkurt), an important archetype from Turkish mythology and symbol of Turkish Nationalism in mainland Turkey. The organisation announced itself to the world on 29 November 1957, when leaflets in its name were distributed around Cyprus's main towns.
TMT was active mainly between 1958 and 1974, promoting partition (in Turkish: Taksim) of Cyprus. TMT claims that their efforts were simply in response to a real threat against their community by EOKA, after 1963, by the Cypriot Government, which by then was under exclusive Greek Cyprus control and had ended representing Turkish Cypriots.
TMT activity during 1963-64 is referred to as Tourkantarsia (Turkish mutiny) by Greek Cypriot nationalists.
Allegations for crimes
Turkish Cypriot journalist Sener Levent claims that from an interview with a former TMT commander it is possible that the famous bath-tub photo featuring a mother and her dead children in a bathtub supposedly killed by the Greek-Cypriots was set up by TMT. Furthermore, he claims that TMT also altered the position of the bodies to make the photographs more ‘effective’ and that many of the photos of the event portrayed in museums were taken after the event.
Turkish Cypriot newspaper Avrupa claimed that TMT was also responsible for the death of two Turkish Cypriot lawyers in 1962 believed to have been killed by the Greek Cypriots. It further alleged that the real murderer, whose only the initials were disclosed (H.C), confessed the crime he had committed to a male nurse at the hospital before he died from excess use of alcohol and cirrhosis.
The founder of TMT Rauf Denktas publicly confessed in an interview to the British Channel ITV that TMT was responsible for the bombing of the Press Office of the Turkish Consul in the Turkish neighborhood of Nicosia on 7 June 1958 in order to mobilize the Turkish Cypriots against the Greek Cypriots.
An article published by the former Turkish Cypriot newspaper Zafer Kıbrıslı Türklerindir reveals the murders of various Turkish Cypriots who continued to support the Greek Cypriots by TMT in 1958.[verification needed]
- Emircan, Mehmet Salih. Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti'nde Tören, Bayram ve Anma Günleri (in Turkish). Turkish Cypriot Association of Former Fighters. p. 80-95.
- Isachenko, Daria (2012). The Making of Informal States: Statebuilding in Northern Cyprus and Transdniestria. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 38-39. ISBN 9780230392069. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Roni Alasor, “Sifreli Mesaj: “Trene bindir!” ISBN 960-03-3260-6
- Gündüz, Erdinç. "1 Ağustos ve TMT" (in Turkish). Kıbrıs Postası. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Lange, Matthew (2011). Educations in Ethnic Violence: Identity, Educational Bubbles, and Resource Mobilization. Cambridge University Press. p. 91. ISBN 9781139505444. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Doğan, İbrahim (12 May 2008). "Türkeş TMT'yi benden öğrendi, boynuma sarıldı". Aksiyon (in Turkish) 701. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- Roni Alasor, “Şifreli Mesaj: “Trene bindir!” ISBN 960-03-3260-6
- Anastasiou, Harry (2006). The Broken Olive Branch: Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and the Quest for Peace in Cyprus. AuthorHouse. p. 23. ISBN 9781425943608. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert; Alexandra Bounia (2012). War Museums and Photography. University of Leicester,Museum and Society, 10(3). pp. 185–186.
- Lawyers Hikmet and Gurkan killed by TMT, paper says
- Interview of Rauf Denktas, ITV channel 1985
- Zafer Kibrisli Turkeridir, “Operation of extermination of the Turkish-Cypriot left wingers”,15 October 1965.