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    An International Recognized National Liberation Movement – TMT PT5

    An International Recognized National Liberation Movement – TMT PT5 1By Mehmet Sukru Guzel

    February 1959, the covenant text was published in London, Ankara, Athens, and Nicosia. The basic standards of the constitution were devolved from ‘‘the European Human Rights Convention of 1950, the Paris Protocol of 1952’’ and the ‘‘draft Constitution of Lord Radcliffe’’(Çalışkan, 2019). The constitution of Cyprus was one of the most complex ethno-confessional systems. The Republic of Cyprus emerged as a bi-communal republic where two communities were to be the co-founder of the state (Adams, 1966, p.481).

    The 1960 constitution categorized citizens as Greeks or Turks. Elected positions were filled by separate elections. Separate municipalities were established in each town and separate elections were to be held for all elected public posts. Posts filled by appointment and promotion, such as the civil service and police, were to be shared between Greeks and Turks at a ratio of 70 to 30. In the army, this ratio rose to 60 to 40. The President was designated Greek and the Vice-President Turkish, each elected by their respective community. The Turkish Cypriot community had veto power in both the executive and legislative branches of the government. The Turkish-Vice President could block the decisions of the President whereas, in the House of Representatives fiscal, municipal and electoral legislation required separate majorities (Leigh, 1990).

    In Article 1 of the 1960 constitution, it is written that: “The State of Cyprus is an independent and sovereign Republic with a presidential regime, the President being Greek and the Vice President being Turk elected by the Greek and the Turkish Communities of Cyprus respectively as hereinafter in this Constitution provided.

    Article 1 of the 1960 Constitution is in fact officially the recognition of the right of the Turkish community to self-determination which is used in a bi-communal state. The Republic of Cyprus was established as a bi-communal state based on a partnership between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Through this compromise, Cyprus gained its independence, while Britain retained two military bases on the island. The 1960 Republic of Cyprus recognized the political equality of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots as the co-founding partners of the new republic. The Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus was designed, in effect, as a functional federation. Communal affairs, such as birth, death, marriage, education, culture, sporting foundations and associations, some municipal duties as well as taxes, were managed separately by the respective administrations of each community. At the international level, the Republic of

    Cyprus became a member of the United Nations and maintained one legal personality.


    – EOKA

    EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston or the National Organisation of Cypriot Combatants), was organized by Colonel George Grivas, an officer in the Greek army, with the support of Archbishop Makarios III. In 1950, the political leader of the Greek Cypriot community was Archbishop Makarios III,  the head of the Greek Orthodox Church on the island. In 1952, during a visit to Athens, Makarios and a group of like-minded individuals had established the Liberation Committee. A year later, they swore a binding oath to pursue Enosis. Makarios automatically became the political leader of this new underground movement. Its military leader was Colonel George Grivas. Grivas was born in Cyprus but left to become a regular officer in the Greek army. He saw active service against the Turks in Asia Minor in the early 1920s, and against the Italians and Germans in 1940-41, before going underground for the remainder of the Axis occupation. At the end of that period, he emerged as the leader of an extreme right-wing organization, Khi, sometimes also known as the ‘X’ organization, to join the fight against the Greek communists. Grivas put his experience of underground warfare to good use in the cause of Enosis. He visited Cyprus in July 1951, and again between October 1952 and February 1953. The result was that on his return to Athens he was able to put a comprehensive plan for an armed insurrection on the island before the Liberation Committee. Through a combination of wide-scale sabotage operations supported by guerrilla bands operating in remote locations in the Troodos Mountains and the Kyrenia range, and riots in the major towns, he would undermine the prestige of the administration and force the British to accede to their demands. Makarios was reluctant to sanction the shedding of blood and hoped that a brief sabotage campaign would suffice to persuade the British to be more reasonable. It was only after the Greek government had failed to raise the Cyprus question at the United Nations in December 1954 that he finally gave Grivas permission to proceed (French, 2015).

    In the first two weeks of October 1954, Archbishop Makarios and Colonel George Grivas met four times in Athens and exchanged views on matters relating to the preparation of the revolutionary movement in Cyprus (Varnavas, 2018, p.40).

    Two arms shipments reached the island, the first one in March 1954 and the second one in October from Greece. Grivas himself returned to the island on November 1954 and began to recruit and train the men who would conduct the sabotage campaign. Most were young men, and often teenagers. They were either member of two right-wing youth organizations sponsored by the Orthodox Church, OHEN (Orthodox Christian Union of Youth) and PEON (Pan-Cyprian National Organisation of Youth), or of PEK (Pan-agrarian Union of Cyprus), the right-wing farmers’ union (Karyos, 2009, p.40).

    On 1 April 1955, EOKA opened a campaign against the British rule in a well-coordinated series of attacks on police, military, and other government installations in Nicosia, Famagusta, Larnaca, and Limassol. This resulted in the deaths of over a hundred British servicemen and personnel and Greek Cypriots suspected of collaboration. EOKA proclaimed that it was acting to induce the British to grant Enosis, that is a union between Cyprus and Greece (French). The military campaign of EOKA displayed the characteristics of urban guerrilla warfare. The island-wide act of violence including sabotages, the bombing of public buildings, radio stations, and military installations, setting up ambushes and assassinations of British, Greek and Turkish targets were the methods of EOKA (Çalışkan, 2019).

    The records of a meeting of historians on the EOKA struggle held in Nicosia on 15 October 2005 (with the participation of EOKA veterans) are more specific about the meaning of “self-determination” amongst the active members of the revolutionary organization. These interpretations insist that the implementation of self-determination to Cyprus would lead eventually to national completion and incorporation of the island to the Greek mainland. For instance, Thassos Sophocleous (former section-leader of EOKA and President of the Union of EOKA Fighters-1955-59) considered that after the British would be driven out, the right of full self-determination would be exercised, leaving the Greek-Cypriots to choose their desired future, which was union with Greece. Demos Hatzimiltis (former section-leader of EOKA and diplomat) added that “Self-determination… for us [the EOKA cadres] meant Enosis”. Finally, Lucis Avgoustidis (former EOKA fighter, retired Army officer) offered a slightly different interpretation stating that the EOKA struggle aimed at the first stage at the liberation of Cyprus

    and only eventually at enosis, thus viewing “independence” as an interim towards the inclusion of Cyprus into the Greek state (Karyos, 2009, p.7).

    Nonetheless, EOKA did not use the term Enosis publicly but instead, replaced it in its political rhetoric with the principle of self-determination. The tactical thinking of EOKA in order to make acceptable to global opinion in the world and not to be seen as nineteenth-century-style irredentism, , EOKA asked the right to self-determination instead of demanding enosis.

    According to the government of the Greek Cypriots, Archbishop Makarios III was the political leader of the national liberation movement of the Greek- Cypriots7 whereas EOKA is accepted as the military wing of the national liberation movement of the Greek Cypriots by the Greek Cypriot government.8

    Please read part 6

    We are releasing this in 6 parts, you can find the full release HERE

    An International Recognized National Liberation Movement – TMT PT1


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