From Academic Kids

EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, in English National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters) was a Greek Cypriot nationalist organisation that fought for the expulsion of United Kingdom troops from the island, for self-determination and for union with Greece in the mid to late 1950s.

The organisation was headed by George Grivas, a Cyprus born Colonel in the Greek army who distinguished himself during World War II and the subsequent Hellenic Civil War. Grivas assumed the nom de guerre Digenis in honour of the Byzantine legend Digenis Akritas who repelled invaders from the Byzantine Empire during the middle ages. EOKA was clandestinely supported by the Greek Government in the form of arms, money and propaganda on radio stations aired from Athens. Its guerrilla campaign began on April 1 1955, the group targeted British military and civilian installations on the island as well as assassinating Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot collaborators, informants, Communists and members of the pro-division or Taksim Turkish Cypriot paramilitary organisation known as Turk Mukavemet Teskilati or TMT. Over 30,000 British troops were assigned to combat the organisation, which officially claimed the life of 104 British military personnel. However, it is widely believed that the true reflection of British soldiers, administrators and police personnel lost is at least three times that number. EOKA's activity lasted until December 24 1959 where a cease-fire was agreed when the British government proposed the Zurich agreement on the future of the country.

Their aim to rid Cyprus of British rule was met when on 16 August 1960 Cyprus achieved independence from the United Kingdom. However, the settlement explicitly denied enosis - the union with Greece sought by EOKA. Although Cyprus gained its independence it was burdened with a complex constitution and a security arrangement compromising of a three-way guaranteeship from Turkey, Greece and Britain. See History of Cyprus.


EOKA-B was a Greek Cypriot right-wing pro-enosis paramilitary organisation formed in 1971 that was supported by the ruling Greek junta which came to power in 1967 overthrowing the legitimate Greek government of George Papandreou. When George Grivas returned to Cyprus in 1971 he created EOKA-B in response to President Archbishop Makarios deviation from the policy of enosis. He was angered by Makarios rejection of enosis in 1959 and was further upset when the President reaffirmed this position when re-elected as President in 1968, Grivas took the reigns of EOKA-B and attempted to overthrow him and achieve enosis through violent means.

Whereas EOKA (1955-59) was seen by the majority of the Greek Cypriots as anti-colonialist freedom fighters, EOKA-B did not have the overwhelming support of the Greek Cypriot population who where sceptical over the organisations involvement with the unpopular Greek dictatorship and did not want to swap their newly found independence with direct rule from Athens. The organisations unpopularity increased after attacks on Greek Cypriot Socialists and supporters of independence, while public outrage followed the murder of government minister Polycarpos Georgadjis and a botched assassination attempt on Makarios.

When Grivas died from heart failure in January 1974, the new leadership of EOKA-B increasingly came under the direct control and influence of the military junta in Athens. On July 15 1974, EOKA-B with approval of the Greek Dictator Ioannides and the help of the National Guard, launched a military coup overthrowing Makarios and installing Nikos Sampson as President of Cyprus. This action served only to provoke a Turkish military Invasion on July 20 1974 which led to the subsequent de facto division of the island.el:ΕΟΚΑ


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