Saturday, April 25, 2015
60th Anniversary of the EOKA Cyprus Liberation Struggle 1955 - 1959 2.4.2015
This minisheet on the FDC commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the EOKA Cyprus Liberation Struggle 1955 - 1959.
EOKA was a Greek Cypriot nationalist guerrilla organisation that fought a campaign for the end of British rule in Cyprus, for the island's self-determination an
d for eventual union with Greece.
The United Kingdom had promised Greece unification with Cyprus if Greece would enter World War I on the side of the Allies; but the Greeks declined this invitation because KingConstantine I of Greece had been educated in Germany, was married to Sophia of Prussia, sister of Kaiser Wilhelm, and was convinced of the Central Powers' victory. Prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos on the other hand was an ardent anglophile, and believed in an Allied victory. After Venizelos' efforts to sway Constantine's opinion proved unsuccessful, the promise was never realised.
In the 1950s, EOKA was established having the specific aim to mount a military campaign to end the status of Cyprus as a British crown colony and achieve the island's unification with Greece. The leadership of AKEL at the time, the island's large communist party, opposed EOKA's military action, advocating a "Gandhiesque approach" of civil disobedience, such as workers' strikes and demonstrations. AKEL was previously involved in organising the plebiscite of 1950, where the vast majority of Greek Cypriots voted for union with Greece (98%).
The EOKA campaign lasted officially until 31 March 1959. After independence, EOKA fighters formed regional associations, such as "SAPEL"(Union of Fighters of Limassol and district"), that have been participating in commemorations, museum collections etc. In the 1990s, a dedicated old people's home for ex-EOKA fighters was constructed in the village of Palodhia, near Limassol.