** Cyprus Cypriot history enosis EOKA

Cypriot History: Enosis and EOKA (1950s)

Figure 1.--The majority Greek population of Greece despite 350 years of Ottoman rule cosidered themselves Greek. Few Greek Cypriots converted to Islam. Enosis became a dream after the Greek independence (1820s), but it did not become aeal possibility until after World War II with the decolonization movement. Greek Cypriots strongly favored it. There was strong support throughout Greek Cypriot society. There is no doubt what these Greek Cypriot schoolboys thought about Enosis. They are staging their own little demonstration with the Greek flag as Cyorus was moving towrd independence (February 1959).

British control of Cyprus was at first favorably received by its mostly ethnic Greek population. Britain had been a major support for the Greeks in their war for independence (1820s). Most Cypriots assumed assumed that Britain eventually come to terms with the Greek Governent and arange for enosis (union with Greece), although no commitment was made. Turkish Cypriots, however, were not enthusiastic about such a union. World War I increased the possibility of enosis. The British Government offered to unite Cyprus with Greece (1915). The condition was that Greece fwould fulfill its treaty obligations with Serbia if attacked by Bulgaria. The Serbs had managed to resist an Austrian offensive in the north. The Central powers prepared a new offensive with Austrian abd German forced attabking in the north and Bulgaria entering the war and attacking in the south. The Greek Government was conflicted anout the war, with important elements desiring to stay out of the fighting or even supporting the Germans. The Greeks refused the British offer and the British never repeated the offer, although Greece did finally join the Allies. After World War I, enosis sentiment on Cyprus grew. There were pro-enosis riots (1931), but it wasn’t until several years after World War II (1950s) that the enosis movement began to garner widesread support. Cypriot lieutenant colonel, Georgos ‘Digenis’ Grivas, who mobilied the Ethniki Organosi tou Kypriakou Agona (National Organisation for the Cypriot Struggle--EOKA). Greek Cypriots had organized EOKA during World War II to resist the Communists. Now the target became the British. EOKA launched a resistance campaign gainst the British administration and military. They also targeted Cypriots seen as oposing enosis. The Greek Government responding to events on Cypris proposed the enosis of Greece and Cyprus (1954). The British rejected enosis. The British desired to retain Cyprus for its strategic value, but had no interest in fighting a guerill war. They formulated proposals for a limited home rule. All were rejected by EOKA. In contrast, The Turkish Cypriot minority s became increasingly alarmed with the rising violence and at the prospect of the British leaving and their being incorporated into Greece without any say in the matter. At first it was largely civil disobedience, but as time went on it became more violent. George Grivas, a Cypriot-born former Greek army general, led the EOKA campaign. EOKA began as an anti-Communist, but as the enosis campaign intensified, here were clearly not only an anti-British, but anti-Turkish orientation. The Greek And Turkish Governments, both NATO allies, began to take an increasingly active interest in developments on Cyprus. The Greek Government proposed enosis with Greece (1954). A bomb was detonated at the Turkish consulate in Salonika (1955). This caused anti-Greek riots in Istanbul and Izmir. And as Greek Cypriots called for enosis, the Turkish Cypriots demanded either retrocession to Turkey or taksim (partition). The Turkish Government called for the partition of Cyprus on an ethnic basis to protect the Turkish minority. The EOKA campaign was a major factor in the British decesion to grant Cyprus independence (1959). Greek Cypriot ethnarch and religious leader Archbishop Makarios III and Turkish Cypriot leader Faisal Küçük met in Zurich with Greek and Turkish leaders, as well as representatives of the British government (1959). They came to ratify a previously agreed plan whereby independence would be granted to Cyprus under conditions that would satisfy all sides. The agreemet reached with the British allowed them to retain two bases and a number of other military sites as part of the agreement. The Cypriots agreed not to enter into a political or economic union with Turkey or Greece, nor agree to be partitioned. Political power was to be shared on a proportional basis, although with less than 20 percent of the total population, the Turkish Cypriots were granted 30 percent of civil service positions, and 33 percent of seats in the new House of Representatives. Perhaps most importantly, the Greek Cypriots responding to Turkish security fears, agreed to reserve 40 percent of positions in the army to ethnic Turks, nore than double the proportional share of the population. Britain, Turkey and Greece were named as ‘guarantor powers’, which esentially gave each of the three nations the right to intervene in Cypriot affairs if they concluded that the terms of the independence agreement were being violated.


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Crerated: 11:00 PM 11/6/2016
Last updated: 11:00 PM 11/6/2016