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Participant in Cypriot intercommunal violence and Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Active 1971–1974
Ideology Greek nationalism
Leaders Georgios Grivas
Headquarters Cyprus
Allies Greek military junta of 1967–74
Progressive Front
Opponents Republic of Cyprus
Turkish Resistance Organisation
Pro-Makarios supporters

EOKA-B was a Greek Cypriot paramilitary organisation formed in 1971 by General Georgios Grivas-Digenis. It followed an ultra right-wing nationalistic ideology and had the ultimate goal of achieving the enosis (union) of Cyprus with Greece. During its short history, the organisation's chief aim was to block any attempt to enforce upon the Cyprus people what the organisation considered to be an unacceptable settlement to the Cyprus issue. In addition the organisation drafted various plans to overthrow President Makarios. The organisation dissolved following a failed coup d'état attempt in 1974 and the subsequent Turkish Invasion of Cyprus.

Due to its attacks on civilians, it was considered a terrorist organization and was outlawed by the Republic of Cyprus, led by Makarios III.[1]


EOKA-B was founded by General George Grivas as his last organizational attempt before his death in 1974. Grivas, the anti-communist military leader of the Greek Civil War, was among the founders of EOKA in the early 50s. After the declaration of independent Cyprus state he took over the Supreme Command of the Greek Cypriot forces organised under the National Guard as well as the Greek military division in early 60s. Following Turkey's ultimatum of November 1967 he was recalled by the Greek Junta to Athens, only to return under cover in 1971.[2]

The organization is commonly referred as a terrorist organization in countries such as the United Kingdom [3] because EOKA-B was engaged in bombing campaigns against police forces. This terminology was shared by President Makarios on his speech at the UN following the coup.[4] After Grivas returned to Cyprus in 1971, he created EOKA-B in response to President Archbishop Makarios' deviation from the policy of enosis in 1959 and the reaffirmation of this position during his re-election in 1968. Grivas, along with his new EOKA-B organisation, attempted to forcefully oust Makarios in order to enact his original goal of enosis with Greece.

Whereas EOKA (1955–59) were seen by the majority of the Greek Cypriots as anti-colonialist freedom fighters, the EOKA-B did not have the overwhelming support of the Greek Cypriot population, as Makarios had called an election after a failed assassination attempt on him and his coalition won 27 out of the 35 seats.[5] The main supporters of EOKA B were Pro Enosis supporters who won 7 seats in the previous election, old EOKA fighters who felt they never received the recognition that they deserved after the revolt, right wing military personal and some pro-enosis elements of the Church of Cyprus.[5] The only armed, organized resistance to EOKA-B came from the "Efedriko", a special police force set up by Makarios and the members of the Socialist Party EDEK as well as armed supporters of Makarios in every town. The Communist Party AKEL, despite the mild verbal opposition to EOKA-B, had not organized any form of resistance against it.

When Grivas Digenis 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. The post-Grivas EOKA-B was on the verge of dissolution by July 1974. Yet on July 15, 1974 the Greek Dictator Dimitrios Ioannides used the National Guard,which was led by Greek Officers and consisted of Greek-Cypriot conscripts, and launched a military coup, overthrowing Makarios and installing Nikos Sampson as the new President of Cyprus.[6] This action served only to provoke a Turkish intervention on July 20, 1974,[6] leading to the subsequent de facto division of the island. Ioannides was taken by surprise by the Turkish invasion and failed to convince or coerce the Greek generals to send military reinforcements to Cyprus. His failure to win the war of Cyprus led to his downfall on 23 July 1974.

On 14 August 1974, following renewed Turkish Military aggression on that day, Greek-Cypriot extremists committed massacres and crimes against Turkish-Cypriots in Maratha, Santalaris, Aloda, Tochni and Kiti. On the other side, on April 17, 1991, Ambassador Nelson Ledsky testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "most of the 'missing persons' disappeared in the first days of July 1974, before the Turkish intervention on the 20th. Many killed on the Greek side were killed by Greek Cypriots in fighting between supporters of Makarios and Sampson." [7] This view is not corroborated by the official figures of the Republic of Cyprus release in 2003 which showed that 98 Greek Cypriots died during the coup and no Turkish Cypriots. As a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus of July 20, 1974 2,500 Greek Cypriots died in fighting or as a result of war crimes by the Turkish army or Turkish Cypriot extremists, 500 T/C in fighting and as result of atrocities of Greek Cypriot extremists and around 500 Turkish troops (The Tragic Duel and the Betrayal of Cyprus-Marios Adamides-2011).

See also


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  3. "Middle East: Missing Persons", Accessed June 17, 2006. Archived March 26, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Speech by Makarios", Accessed June 17, 2006.
  5. 5.0 5.1 O'Malley, Brandan and Craig. Ian. The Cyprus Conspiracy, Pub. I.B. Tauris, London , 1999. p. 137.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  7. Paul Sant Cassia, Bodies of Evidence: Burial, Memory, and the Recovery of Missing Persons in Cyprus, Berghahn Books, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84545-228-5, p. 237.