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DOCUMENT
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Monday 8.pm to 8.30pm
The award-winning investigative series returns, in which Mike Thomson takes a document as a starting-point to shed new light on past events.

Dividing Cyprus

Monday 23 January 2006
Image from picture gallery Dividing Cyprus
Ever since the Turkish army invaded and occupied Northern Cyprus in 1974, the partition of the island between ethnic Greeks and Turks has seemed set in stone. 
 Follow this link to view a gallery of images taken by Document during the making of this programme.
But the first green line, through the capital, was drawn ten years earlier, by a British general -- using a green chinagraph pencil that happened to be at hand. Throughout 1964, British troops were on the island, supposedly for peace-keeping. But were they really bringing peace? In this programme, Mike Thomson examine new documents that suggest that the real motives of some of the peacekeepers were less than honourable. New documents uncovered by the programme reveal the existence of a spy ring of British troops who were materially aiding Turkish insurgents by gun-running and spying on Greek Cypriot military installations. Although one of the men was caught by the Greek Cypriots, the rest were spirited off the island by the British authorities before the Cypriot police could interrogate them.

The programme also investigates the long-standing mystery of a British army major who was abducted, presumed murdered, by Greek Cypriot paramilitaries. New documentary evidence uncovered by the programme shows that he, too, was aware of illicit gun-running on behalf of the Turks; and that, although the British authorities had good intelligence about the identities of his murderers, they chose not to press the Greek Cypriot authorities to investigate the case.

Many Greek Cypriots have long believed that the Nato powers, notably Britain and America , were opposed to the idea of an independent Cyprus because of fears that it could fall into communist hands and become a "Mediterranean Cuba" - a scenario that would have put at risk British electronic spying bases on the island. The programme assesses the evidence that pro-American elements on the island in 1964 actively conspired to foment inter-communal strife in order to justify the effective partition of the island - a situation that came to pass in 1974.
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