Cyprus Conflict Within the Greek Cypriot Community, 1967-74
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
During the next seven years, events in Cyprus were shaped by the differences over enosis that arose between Makarios and the military government that was installed in Greece after a coup d'état in 1967. Convinced of Turkey's willingness to use its superior force to prevent enosis, Makarios began to seek support among Greek Cypriots--especially those in the communist party--who rejected enosis, at least for the near future, in favor of an independent, nonaligned Cyprus (see Political Dynamics , ch. 4). Because Makarios had decided enosis was no longer possible in the short term, more adamant pro-enosis Cypriot groups and anticommunist Greek officers, both of which infiltrated the National Guard during the late 1960s and early 1970s, would subvert his government increasingly after 1967 and finally overthrow him in 1974.
Makarios failed in his efforts to limit the autonomy of the National Guard, which, under the influence of right-wing Greek officers, remained attached to enosis and bitterly opposed to Makarios's political association with the communist party. Compulsory military service for all Greek Cypriot males--for a period that increased from six months to two years during the 1960s--allowed the arming and training of a great number of men, many of whom subsequently took up arms against the government. Between 1969 and 1971, several groups embarked on a renewed terrorist campaign for enosis. Grivas returned clandestinely to Cyprus sometime in the late summer or early fall of 1971 and set up a new guerilla organization, the national Organizaiton of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agonistm B--EOKA B). Most members of the terrorist movement held regular jobs in the Greek Cypriot community; half were police officials and members of the National Guard.
There was also considerable evidence of support of EOKA B activities by the Greek junta, whose hostility to Makarios became increasingly apparent during the early 1970s. The junta was believed to be involved in several attempts on the life of President Makarios. In March 1970, Makarios narrowly escaped death when his helicopter was shot down. Makarios walked away from the crash, but his pilot was killed. Former minister of the interior Polykarpos Georkajis, in contact with local right-wing groups and the junta in Athens, was thought to be implicated, and was assassinated shortly afterward. A paramilitary presidential guard loyal to Makarios, called the Tactical Police Reserve, was organized in 1972. Consisting of fewer than 1,000 men, the Tactical Police Reserve succeeded in arresting large numbers of EOKA B guerrillas. In a further attempt to bring subversive forces under control, Makarios dismissed many National Guard and police officers suspected of EOKA B activity.
With the death of Grivas from a heart attack in January 1974, EOKA B came more directly under the control of the military junta in Athens, which, after a change of leadership, was even more hostile to Makarios. The archbishop, however, saw the Greekofficered National Guard as a more serious threat to his government than EOKA B. In a letter to the Greek president in early July, he accused the junta of attempting to subvert the government of Cyprus through the Greek officers of the National Guard, who in turn supported the terrorist activities of EOKA B. Makarion demanded immediate removal of the 650 Greek officers staffing the National Guard and their replacement by 100 instructors who would help reorganize the Greek Cypriot force.
The reply to the Makarios challenge came on July 15 in the form of a coup d'état led by Greek officers in the National Guard, under orders from Athens. The fierce fighting that broke out resulted in casualties estimated at over 500, but the lightly armed Tactical Police Reserve and irregular pro-Makarios units were no match for the heavily armed National Guardsmen and the EOKA B irregulars. Narrowly escaping capture when the presidential palace was bombarded, Makarios was flown to London from the Sovereyn Base Area at Akrotiri. Former EOKA gunman and convicted murderer Nicos Sampson, notorious for his brutality in the 1950s and 1960s, was proclaimed president. As Makarios had foreseen, but the Greek military leaders did not, Turkey reacted forcibly to the coup by landing a large number of troops on the northern coast of Cyprus. As a result, both the insurrectionary government in Cyprus and the military dictatorship in Greece fell from power.
Data as of January 1991
NOTE: The information regarding Cyprus on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Cyprus Conflict Within the Greek Cypriot Community, 1967-74 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Cyprus Conflict Within the Greek Cypriot Community, 1967-74 should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.