Sunday, 31 August 2008

Gori - Famagusta article published

Not much has been happening these days; i have been far to busy with work to have a look at issues that would be interesting for the blog. My article over the comparison of Gori and Famagusta was published on the 15th of August at the Cyprus Mail.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Fate averted: Gori 2008, Famagusta 1974

For those who despair over the inactivity of the international community there is a slight slimmer of hope from the whole mess in Georgia. Yesterday I was sure Gori would suffer the fate of Ammochostos (Famagusta) in 1974. The times reported today (12/08/08) the situation of panic caused by the defeat of Georgian army and sustained bombing of civilian areas:

"The retreat from Gori, ... was as humiliating as it was sudden and dramatic. The Times witnessed scores of tanks and armoured personnel carriers, laden with soldiers, speeding through the town away from what Georgian officials claimed was an imminent Russian invasion.

Residents watched in horror as their army abandoned its positions after a day of increasingly aggressive exchanges of fire along the border with South Ossetia ... Jeeps and pick-up trucks filled with Georgian soldiers raced through the streets, their occupants frantically signaling to civilians that they too should flee. The road out of Gori towards Tbilisi was a scene of chaos and fear as cars jockeyed with tanks for a speedy escape.

Soldiers left by any means available. Dozens of troops clung to cars on the back of a transporter lorry, while five other soldiers fled on one quad bike.

A tank had exploded on the mountain road leaving Gori, although it was unclear what had caused the blast. … Columns of Georgian tanks and heavy weaponry filled the road during the 50-mile journey back to Tbilisi as thousands of soldiers, many looking totally demoralised, headed for the capital. "

In the 14th of August 1974 a broken and underpowered national guard retreated across the plain of Mesaoria. The city of Famagusta was under heavy bombardment: the tall buildings were taking a substantial amount of hits and the civilian population was terrified. As the broken units and refugees fled back into the city, with stories of brutality and overwhelming force, panic spread throughout the city army units and civilians. As the times correspondent in 14 August commented:

"Turkish Tanks and infantry pushed towards the resort town of
Famagusta today behind ceaseless air attack and artillery bombardment on three fronts... heavy air and artillery strikes against Greek position along the Famagusta road. By midday the defenders ha began to fall back on to the capital"

"20000 refugees flee Famagusta: The road into Famagusta was crowded early today with Greek Cypriot Families fleeing from the resort. Fear has swept throughout the community... [people telling the reporter] "The Turks are coming... turn Back don’t go any further".

As in Gori so in Famagusta the air bombardment struck fear in the population:

War came early to Famagusta. Turkish Jet Fighters Bombarded and strafed the near deserted town. … Throughout the morning … fighter bombers made bombing and strafing runs blocking the town and setting buildings on fire. Big plumes of black smoke rose over a wide area in the Greek-Cypriot part of town [for] a second time in a month."

“On the approach roads to the town the last of the refugees poured out in cars packed with women and children… a jeep with two wounded national guardsmen raced through the town. The guards said they had been expecting reinforcement, They had no idea were the Turks were in their drive eastwards."

Unlike Gori Famagusta has remained under occupation; its affluent Varoshia suburb remains useless and in ruins. It's citizens are still refugees over 34 years after the events described above. It is fortunate that at least a combination of factors stopped the same fate happening to Gori. Just two days prior to the aniversary of the fall of Famagusta it is hopeful to know that the citizens of Gori were spared from the same fate. My thoughts are to suffering populations of both Gori and Famagusta.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Working Paper Published: Bank of Greece, no.80

I have been published as a working paper by the bank of Greece. This is a paper i have much enjoyed creating, as it has been presented in LSE and in Greece and i have gained much insight to Maltese and Cypriot issues by looking at other countries around the eastern Mediterranean. It is so easy when you live in Cyprus and Malta to believe that:

a) we are unique and therefore we have unique problems

b) that out small size can not provide examples or insights for greater European history.

This paper goes some way to disprove both notions.



Turkish Cypriot Banking History

I have finished estimating the value added of banking in Cyprus for the interwar period and I can now help with the origins of the Turkish Cypriot banks which is a bit confusing; most of what is said is based heavily on Kate Phylaktis “The Banking System of Cyprus” (MacMillan: London, 1995) and the Cyprus Blue Books. This is part of a project on T/C banking by two academics that i admire: i hope they give me premision to place extract of their work here when it is completed.

The Imperial Ottoman Bank was established in 1864; its real reason for opening a branch in Larnaca is controversial (Phylaktis argues it is due to cotton and Autherman due to the request by the Porte to have a branch in order to collect the Cypriot taxes). The Imperial Ottoman Bank latter changed its name to the Ottoman Bank in the interwar period, and remained the strongest bank in Cyprus prior to the Second World War. Over time the Ottoman bank became closely related to Turkish interests, but never lost its multinational Anglo-French character.

The Moslem Savings bank was established in 1901 just two years after the Nicosia Savings Bank and partly to the passing of a law confirming the existence of savings banks and their remit. In 1912 the Colonial government was concerned that the Nicosia Saving Bank was taking banking business that fell outside its remit as a savings bank, and pressured the Nicosia Savings bank to become a société anonyme known as the Bank of Cyprus, on the basis of the Ottoman Commercial Law. Unlike the bank of Cyprus the Moslem Saving bank did not undergo a change to a société anonyme during the interwar period; this probably indicates that the bank remained faithful to the lending requirements of the Savings Bank Law, which seems to have stipulated that all lending should be given its shareholders. Another explanation is that the Moslem savings bank was small (operated revenues and expanses of around £4,000 during the whole interwar period) and the government was thus not concerned as much on its legal footing.

The only other Turkish Cypriot saving bank to have registered with the government seems to have been a money lender: the “bank” was called Sinta Teavun Sandigi, and was registered as a savings bank in 1929. Its capital must have been very small as revenues and expenditures were around £38 pounds for the whole of the interwar period.

The only bank that was established as a société anonyme was Emniet Bank in the 1930. This bank remained small during the interwar period, having only approximately £2500 in deposits.

More research is needed to understand the interaction of the Turkish Cypriot banking institutions with he emerging Greek Cypriot institutions as well as their relations with the big Multinational banks already established on the island, such as the Ottoman Bank, Bank of Athens, the Ionian Bank and Barclays D.C.O.