In the long tradition of conspiracy theorists, O'Malley and Craig (both British journalists writing for mainstream newspapers – the Times Educational Supplement and the Manchester Evening News) insist that things are not what they seem to be; and that all power flows from Washington. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 is commonly ascribed to a sequence of events set off by the junta in Athens overthrowing Archbishop Makarios, the (Greek) leader of Cyprus. Ankara, alarmed by the consequences of this change for the Turks of Cyprus, moved in soldiers – who never left. Conventional analysis sees this episode as an American failure to forestall tensions between two NATO allies.
Not so, reply our conspiracy theorists. Their self-described "deep research" found that the "real story" started not with Greek colonels but with American manipulators engaged in an "astonishing international plot." Greeks and Turks drop out of the picture and instead, "at every important turn there was the hand of the CIA or the U.S. State Department [headed at that time by Henry Kissinger]." To be precise, "It was a conspiracy by America, as Britain stood by, to divide the island. And the reason, ignored by previous studies of the Cyprus crisis, was the island's strategic value as a military and intelligence base as well as America's considerable military interests in Turkey." Far from being an American failure, the splitting of Cyprus into two armed and hostile camps was a cold war triumph that made it possible for Washington to track Soviet advances in nuclear technology, have an early warning of Soviet missile launches, and keep a close eye on Soviet activities in the Middle East's oil fields. For these reasons of state, the Americans and their British sidekicks, "rode roughshod" over the poor Cypriots, condemning them to living out decades of an unnecessary animosity. The authors spend over 200 pages elaborating this nonsensical thesis in the typically over-eager and under-sensible way of their ilk, giving investigative journalists everywhere – and publisher I.B. Tauris too – a bad name.