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Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı
Participant in Cypriot intercommunal violence and Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Active 1958–1974
Leaders Rauf Denktaş
Headquarters Cyprus
Strength 3,000 volunteers
Allies Turkey
Opponents EOKA

The Turkish Resistance Organisation (Turkish language: 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.

Structure[edit | edit source]

TMT's organisation structure and base had been formed as early as 1950 with its centre in Yenişehir, Ankara and its members called mujahid.[1][page needed] Communication with its members in Cyprus was by radio and the honorary leader of the TMT was Fatin Rüştü Zorlu.[1][page needed]

General Daniş Karabelen, in charge of unconventional warfare office of Turkey,[2] was leading the irregular Turkish Cypriot attacks on Greek Cypriot properties.[citation needed] 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.[3][page needed]

Against Enosis[edit | edit source]

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[citation needed]. TMT used the symbol of the Gray Wolf (Turkish language: Bozkurt), an important archetype from Turkish mythology and symbol of Turkish Nationalism in mainland Turkey.[4] The organisation announced itself to the world on 29 November 1957, when leaflets in its name were distributed around Cyprus's main towns.

Favoring Partition[edit | edit source]

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-B, after 1963, by the Cypriot Government (which by then was almost exclusively Greek Cypriot in make-up, due to Turkish Cypriot Deputies withdrawal from government).

TMT activity during 1963-64 is referred to as Tourkantarsia (Turkish mutiny) by Greek Cypriot nationalists.[citation needed]

Allegations for crimes[edit | edit source]

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.[5] 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.

In his book, Greek Cypriot journalist Costas Yennaris similarly claims that Turkish journalist Ahmet Baran told him during an interview in 1985 that the murder was a set up by TMT and that he was the person who took the photos. According to Yennaris, Baran said: “The crime was committed in a state of rage by Turkish Major Nihat Ilhan, who was serving at the time with the Turkish Contingent in Cyprus, and victims were his wife and his children. His house (where the crime was committed) was in the center of the Turkish neighborhood, an area where no Greek-Cypriot forces ever went”.[6]

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Avrupa reported 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 stated 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.[7]

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.[8]

An article published by the former Turkish Cypriot newspaper Zafer Kibrisli Turkeridir reveals the murders of various Turkish Cypriots who continued to support the Greek Cypriots by TMT in 1958.[9]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Roni Alasor, “Sifreli Mesaj: “Trene bindir!” ISBN 960-03-3260-6
  2. Doğan, İbrahim (12 May 2008). "Türkeş TMT'yi benden öğrendi, boynuma sarıldı" (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080616065502/http://www.aksiyon.com.tr/detay.php?id=30244. Retrieved 22 September 2008. 
  3. Roni Alasor, “Şifreli Mesaj: “Trene bindir!” ISBN 960-03-3260-6
  4. http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/story33.html
  5. Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert; Alexandra Bounia (2012). War Museums and Photography. University of Leicester,Museum and Society, 10(3). pp. 185–186. 
  6. Yennaris, Costas (2003). From The East: Conflict And Partition In Cyprus. Elliot & Thomson. ISBN 1904027067. 
  7. Lawyers Hikmet and Gurkan killed by TMT, paper says
  8. Interview of Rauf Denktas, ITV channel 1985
  9. Zafer Kibrisli Turkeridir, “Operation of extermination of the Turkish-Cypriot left wingers”,15 October 1965.

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