Sunday, November 17, 2013

The EOKA struggle.


EOKA , Greek  for National Organisation of Cypriot a Hellenic nationalist paramilitary organisation that fought a violent campaign for the end of the British Rule of Cyprus , as well as for self-determination and for union with Hellas.
The military campaign officially began on April 1, 1955. On this date EOKA launched simultaneous attacks on the British controlled Cyprus Broadcasting Station in Nicosia (led by Marcos Dracos), on the British Army's barracks and on targets in Famagusta (led by Grigoris Afxentiou). Thereafter and unlike other anti-colonial movements, EOKA confined its acts to sabotaging military installations, ambushing military convoys and patrols, and assassinating British soldiers and local informers. It did not attempt to control any territory, a tactic that according to Grivas would not have suited the terrain and size of Cyprus nor the imbalance of EOKA's conventional military capabilities with respect to the British Army.

 Grivas had rich military experience having been educated at the Hellenic Military Academy, having served as an officer in the Greek Army and having fought for Greece in both World Wars. In terms of ideology, of particular relevance was his action during the Hellenic Civil War, where he led Organisation X, a right wing faction.
 Grivas, assumed the nickname Digenis in reference to the Byzantine Digenis Akritas, who repelled invaders from the Byzantine Empire, during the middle Ages.
Second in command was Grigoris Afxentiou , who had also served in the Greek army. Afxentiou had graduated from the reserves Officers Academy in 1950 but had no prior experience in active military operations.
Recruitment of members was targeted at the younger population. The conditions for a mass uprising as witnessed in other colonial conflicts did not exist in Cyprus. There were no fundamental economic problems nor was there widespread poverty or food shortage.
EOKA's leadership directed recruitment to the idealist "passionate youth".
At the peak of the conflict EOKA paramilitary members numbered 1,250 members (250 regulars plus 1,000 active underground). They faced British security forces totaling 40,000 (32,000 regulars plus 8,000 auxiliaries). It was clandestinely supported by the Greek Government in the form of arms, money and propaganda on radio stations broadcast from Athens.
EOKA's main target as stated both in its initiation oath and its initial declaration of existence was the British military. In total during the campaign EOKA engaged in 1,144 armed clashes with the British Army. About 53% of clashes took place in urban areas, whilst the rest (47%) took place in rural areas.
During the course of the insurrection 105 British servicemen were killed as well as 51 members of the police.
On the 16 June 1956, the bombing of a restaurant by EOKA led to the death of William P. Boteler, a CIA officer working under diplomatic cover.
In October 1956 an EOKA leader was captured during Operation Sparrow hawk. The following year, Grigoris Afxentiou, was burned to death in the Battle of Machairas.
 A number of other Greek fighters were hanged, including the 19-year old, Evagoras Pallikarides.
 EOKA's activity continued until December 1959 when a cease-fire was declared which paved the way for the Zürich agreement on the future of the country.

On 16 August 1960 Cyprus achieved independence from the United Kingdom with the exception of two "Sovereign British Bases” (SBA) at Akrotiri and Dekelia. The settlement explicitly denied enosis– the union with Greece sought by EOKA. Although Cyprus gained its independence, it came with a complex constitution and the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee – a security arrangement comprising a three-way guarantee from Turkey, Greece and Britain that none would annex the independent republic.