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Constantinople: Brief Look

A Brief Look at the Events of September 6-7 1955


In 1955, the Cyprus problem was the most important 'national issue' in Turkey.

At the end of August a conference was arranged in London, with Greece and the United Kingdom - the other parties involved - to determine the status of Cyprus. Turkey planned an activity to demonstrate the sensitivity of this problem within the Turkish community.

The newspaper, ISTANBUL EXPRESS (6 September 1955), published the news of the bombing of Ataturk's birthplace in "Selanik" (Thessaloniki), Greece. Student protests started the same day. It developed into a nationwide response and within two days, shops, cemeteries and churches belonging to Greeks were destroyed and properties were plundered.

Police, who had initially supported the violence, had to use force to stop it once they realised that they could no longer control it. Martial law was announced in Istanbul (Constantinople). The government declared that the communists were responsible for the violence. Many people known to be leftist, were placed under police supervision.

Later, it was discovered that the events had been planned by the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) and that the bomb had been planted by Oktay Engin, a MIT agent who, in 1992, was Governor of Nevsehir, a Turkish province. (*)

* OZGUR GUNDEM 6-7 September 1992.


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