History of Europe

When Gaddafi was reinforcing Turkey militarily for the 1974 invasion

Libya supported Turkey during the invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, mentioned this the other day in an attempt to justify the sending of Turkish troops to this country. Apparently wanting to highlight the "timeless relations and ties" of the two countries, but also to point out that Turkey allegedly "owes" Libya.


What Erdogan said is also confirmed by telegrams of the American Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which were brought to light by the well-known website Wikileaks. It is also confirmed by an article published in the Turkish "Volkan".

The State Department cable concerns a document from the American embassy in Prague, then Czechoslovakia, dated September 9, 1974 (Monday, 2:20 p.m.) and is the practice of an American diplomat with a Turkish colleague. The latter referred during their meeting to support, in practice, offered by the Gaddafi regime, during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, in the summer of 1974.

According to the Turkish diplomat, Ankara had requested military material from various friendly countries. Libya responded, providing quantities of fuel, bombs and aircraft spare parts. They were all of American origin and were confined to the former US military base Wheelus, 8 km east of Tripoli (s.b. It operated as a US base from 1943 to 1970 and at one point housed 15,000 soldiers and civilian personnel).

The material was compatible with that used by Turkey during the invasion of Cyprus. As noted in the cable, the then leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, had taken part in "material handover ceremonies". As noted, Gaddafi decided to hand over the material because he had emotional ties to Turkey as he had studied at the country's Military Academy (he was also a graduate of the Evelpidon School in Greece).

Specifically, according to the statements of the Turkish diplomat, Libya supported Turkey during the military operations by providing quantities of fuel, bombs and spare parts for the aircraft of the Turkish Air Force. The spare parts came from the former US airbase, which housed the same types of aircraft that took part in the Turkish invasion under the colors of the Turkish Air Force.

In the same cable, citing the same source, it was stated that two days after the invasion of Cyprus, on July 22, a large number of F-4 Phantom II warplanes (American), which were destined for Iran, were stationed en route to Turkey . As noted, Iran's insignia were erased and replaced by those of the Turkish Air Force.

This development misled Greece, which had a different picture of the strength of the Turkish Air Force. The telegram concludes by noting that this information was not substantiated by another source, however, he considers it very interesting.

And another testimony

An article by Birol Ertan in the Turkish Cypriot newspaper "Volkan", which was republished translated in "Filelefthero" (12/04/2011) mentions, among other things, the following:

"YEAR 1974. A few days after the peace operation. The Turkish armed forces carried out a successful landing on the island and rescued the T/k. A Greco-Turkish war could break out from moment to moment. The Turkish armed forces were ready for such a war, but there was a serious lack of armaments. Tanner Boycott was a diplomat serving in NATO. Turkey requested arms from Iran and Iraq. Iran first obstructed and then sent us some fake stuff. Iraq explained that it did not have the weaponry we wanted and that Libya has it.

» The Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately contacted Libya. From there they informed us that there are plenty of weapons and materials in the US weapons depots which were closed by order of Gaddafi and that they could send them to us. After a short period of time, four aircraft filled with weapons and materials landed in Turkey. The prime minister was Ecevit and the minister of defense was Hasan Esat Isik.

Isik called Boycott and told him that he would send a letter of thanks to Gaddafi, while he asked him to go to Libya and ask for a new quantity of weapons. The young diplomat asked whether the value of the armaments already received should be paid. The minister answered in the affirmative and Boycott went to Libya.

» There he met with the Chief of the General Staff of Libya and told him that he wanted to pay the value of the armament and at the same time request the purchase of new ones. The leader's response was "we don't take money from you. To send you all the armaments and material that is in the warehouses.

» The Turkish officers accompanying the diplomat went to the Base and chose whatever served them. The material was loaded onto 4 DC9s and sent to Turkey.

» Another incident with Gaddafi:Gaddafi was surrounded by a crowd of people. After difficulty we were able to lead Baikal (Ecevit's successor) to him. The Libyan leader began the compliments and said he was proud of the Turks. He asked the Turkish delegation to stay a few days in Libya and host it, giving an appointment for the next one. At this meeting, Baikal informed Gaddafi about the operation on the island.

» The Libyan leader asked:"And why didn't you capture the whole island?" adding:"If Greece dares to move, you will have every bit of our help".

» He then asked Baikal to have lunch with the Libyan soldiers to inform them about the Cyprus issue.

Baikal's response was:"I'm glad, but we're going to lose the plane." They ended up staying because Gaddafi was willing to give them his private jet. Yes, yes. Then Gaddafi offered Turkey what no other country did".

Gaddafi's relations with Greece and Cyprus

In a report in "BHmagazino" (Sunday June 29, 2014 "Gaddafi and the Greeks"), it is stated that the first time Muammar Gaddafi was associated with anything Greek was in the mid-60s. At that time, without official records, an impressive and ambitious young man from Libya was in Athens. His name has not been found recorded anywhere, but the testimonies say that he graduated from the Evelpidon School with the class of 1965, having amazing athletic performances.

After his departure from Greece and the Evelpidon School, Gaddafi had developed friendly relations with some of the Greeks, later senior officers, who were related to the junta.

Also interesting was a meeting that Gaddafi had with President Makarios on November 9, 1973. It was an open discussion, which although there are minutes ("Kissinger's secret files" by Michalis Ignatiou and Costas Venizelos). The content of the conversation was leaked to the Americans, who became furious with Makarios.

The minutes, received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus at 12:30 noon on March 13, 1974, after having been personally approved by Gaddafi and then by Makarios, were described as "strictly confidential". It is interesting to read the minutes, which have been made public ("The Secret Files of Kissinger" by Michalis Ignatiou and Costas Venizelou).