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Eoka

The meaning of «eoka»

EOKA (/eɪˈoʊkə/; Greek: ΕΟΚΑ), acronym for Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston,[a] 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 and for eventual union with Greece.[3]

Cyprus, an island in eastern Mediterranean, inhabited mostly by Greek (majority) and Turkish (minority) populations, was part of the Ottoman Empire until 4 June 1878, when in the aftermath of the Russo-Turkish War, it was handed to the British empire.[4] As nationalistic tendencies were growing in both communities of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots were leaning towards Enosis (Union with Greece) which was a part of Megali idea. The origins of Enosis date back to 1821, the year when the Greek War of Independence commenced, and the archbishop of Cyprus, his archdeacon, and three bishops were beheaded, amongst other atrocities. In 1828, Count Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of Greece, asked for the union of Cyprus with Greece, while small-scale uprisings also occurred.[5] In 1878, when British general Wolsely came to Cyprus to formally establish British rule, he was met by the archbishop of Kition who, after welcoming him, requested that Britain cede Cyprus to Greece.[5] Initially, the Greek Cypriots welcomed British rule because they were aware that the British had returned the Ionian Islands to Greece in 1864, and they were also hoping for British investment in Cyprus.[6] In 1912 the British government offered Greece to exchange Cyprus for a naval base in Argostoli, Kefalonia, in order to gain control of the Ionian sea, an offer which was repeated in 1913. In 1915, the British offered several times Cyprus to Greece, in exchange for Greece's participation in World War I. But while Greece was undecided whether it should enter the War, the British government withdrew its offer.[7] By 1915, the Greek Cypriots seeing that neither the British investment, nor Enosis, had materialised, increased their opposition to British rule.[6] In the beginning, the Enosis movement had only few supporters mainly from the upper classes.[8] But that was about to change as two groups of disappointed with the new ruler began to form: the Church and the Usurers. In the following years a growing number of Cypriots were studying in Greece, and upon their return, they became strong advocates of Enosis.[9] On the other hand, the Turkish Cypriot community started to develop its own nationalism in the early 20th century, as news arrived in the island about the persecutions faced by Muslims in the countries that formed after the collapse of Ottoman Empire.[10][11]

In the 1950s, EOKA was established with the specific aim of mounting a military campaign to end the status of Cyprus as a British crown colony and achieving the island's unification with Greece. The leadership of AKEL at the time, the island's communist party, opposed EOKA's military action, advocating a "Gandhiesque approach" of civil disobedience, such as workers' strikes and demonstrations.[12]

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