Εθνική Οργάνωσις Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών
National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters
|Leaders||Georgios Grivas (Digenis)|
|Dates of operation||1955–1959|
1000 active underground
|Allies||Kingdom of Greece|
|Opponents|| United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
Turkish Resistance Organisation
The Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston (EOKA; //; Greek: Εθνική Οργάνωσις Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών, lit. 'National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters') was a Greek Cypriot nationalist paramilitary organisation that fought a campaign for the end of British rule in Cyprus, and for eventual union with Greece.[a]
Cyprus, an island in the eastern Mediterranean, inhabited mostly by Greek Cypriots (majority) and Turkish Cypriots (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. As nationalistic tendencies were growing in both communities of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots were leaning towards Enosis (Union with Greece) which was a part of the 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. 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. 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.
In 1912, the British government made an offer to 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 Cyprus to Greece several times in exchange for Greece's participation in World War I. While Greece was undecided whether it should enter the War, however, the British government withdrew its offer. By 1915, the Greek Cypriot's opposition the British rule had increased, seeing that neither the British investment nor Enosis, had materialised. In the beginning, the Enosis movement had only few supporters, mainly from the upper classes. However, that was about to change as two groups, disappointed with the new ruler, began to form, namely the Church and the Usurers. A number of Cypriots studying in Greece in the following years became strong advocates of Enosis upon their return. 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.
The November 1926 appointment of Ronald Storrs (a philhellene) as the new governor of Cyprus, fostered the idea among Greek Cypriot nationalists that British rule would be a stepping stone for the eventual union with Greece. Their relationship was to sour in 1928, when Greek Cypriots refused to take part in the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the British occupation of Cyprus. Greece appealed for calm, limiting the spread of anti-colonial articles in Greek Cypriot newspapers. Education became another arena of conflict with the passage of the Education Act, which sought to curtail Greek influence in the Cypriot school curricula. Cypriot irredentists also lamented the supposedly preferential treatment of Malta and Egypt at the expense of Cyprus. Relations worsened further when the British authorities unilaterally passed a new penal code which permitted among other things the use of torture. In 1929, Legislative Council members Archbishop of Kition Nikodemos and Stavros Stavrinakis arrived in London, presenting a memorandum to the secretary of colonies Lord Passfield which contained demands for Enosis. As with previous such attempts the answer was negative.
In September 1931, Storrs blocked a Legislative Council decision to halt tax hikes that were to cover a local budget deficit. Greek Cypriot MPs reacted by resigning from their positions. Furthermore, on 18 October, Archbishop of Kition Nikodemos called Greek Cypriots to engage in acts of civil disobedience until their demands for Enosis were fulfilled. On 21 October 1931, 5,000 Greek Cypriots, mostly students, priests and city notables rallied in the streets of Nicosia while chanting pro–Enosis slogans in what came to be known as the October Events. The crowd besieged Government House, following three hours of stone throwing the building was set on fire. The rioters were eventually dispersed by police. At the same time British flags were stripped from public offices across the country, often being substituted with Greek ones. Order was restored by the beginning of November. A total of seven protesters were killed, thirty were injured, ten were exiled for life, while 2,606 received various punishments ranging from prison terms to fines on account of seditious activities.
The revolt damaged both the Enotic cause and the Anglo–Hellenic relations. The Legislative Council and municipal elections were abolished, the appointment of village authorities and district judges was relegated to the governor of the island. Propagating Enotic ideas and flying foreign flags was banned as was the assembly of more than 5 people. Cyprus thus entered a period of autocratic rule known as Palmerokratia (Παλμεροκρατία, "Palmerocracy"), named after governor Richmond Palmer, which started shortly before the revolt and would last until the beginning of World War II.
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.
Initially, the struggle was political, as opposed to military. EOKA, in Grivas' words, wanted to attract the attention of the world through high-profile operations that would make headlines.
EOKA was headed by Georgios Grivas Greek Army officer, World War I and World War II veteran. During the Axis occupation of Greece in World War II, he led a small, anti-communist resistance[b] group, named Organization X. During the anti-communist struggle of December 1944 in Athens after the Axis withdrawal he was saved due to British intervention. Grivas assumed the nom de guerre Digenis in direct reference to the legendary Byzantine Digenis Akritas who repelled invaders from the Byzantine Empire. Second in command in EOKA was Grigoris Afxentiou, also a former officer of the Greek army. Afxentiou had graduated from the reserves Officers Academy in 1950 without previous experience on battlefield.
The main objective of EOKA was Enosis: union of Cyprus with Greece. The organization adopted typical Greek national ideologies and displayed religious, conservative and anticommunist ideas. This was in agreement with the prevailing ideas of Cypriot society at the time. There was a widespread belief that leftists opposed national objectives and provided a certain support to the colonial regime contrary to other contemporary anti-colonial insurgencies in Africa or Asia, which were led by Marxists.
Grivas and Archbishop of Cyprus, Makarios III, disagreed about the way to rid the island of British rule. Grivas rejected Makarios' attempt to limit the campaign to acts of sabotage, avoiding loss of life. Nevertheless, he shared Makarios' view that victory would be won by diplomatic means. Grivas' goal was to subject the British to continued relentless harassment, making it clear to them that occupation carried a price, while keeping Enosis on the international diplomatic agenda. The British response to the EOKA campaign was crucial in this regard: repression would on the one hand alienate the Greek Cypriot population from British rule, and on the other hand provide Makarios and the Greek government with a stick to beat the British with before the United Nations. EOKA would ensure that there was a Cyprus problem and demonstrate to the world that the British could not resolve it.
Grivas carried out a first reconnaissance in Cyprus as early as July 1951. Makarios was certainly skeptical, telling Grivas on one occasion that he would not find supporters for an armed struggle. The British shared the same view. Grivas finally arrived on the island in early November 1954 and set about establishing his underground network. He recruited from the Cyprus Farmers' Union (PEK) in the villages and from the two main youth movements, the Church-controlled Christian Youth Movement (OHEN) and the nationalist Pancyprian Youth Movement (PEON) in the towns. Grivas intended to turn the youth of Cyprus 'into the seedbed of EOKA'. The backbone of EOKA were the mountain groups, a conventional guerrilla force living in hidden camps in the forests, and the town groups, often continuing their civilian job or schooling. Supporting this armed wing was the much broader National Front of Cyprus (EMAK), which provided EOKA with intelligence, supplies, weapons, medicines, recruits and safe houses, confronted the British on the streets with demonstrations and riots and conducted the propaganda offensive.
ANE (Greek: Άλκιμος Νεολαία ΕΟΚΑ – "Alkimos Neolaia EOKA") was the EOKA youth movement during the struggle for enosis between 1955 and 1959. The youth organisation had a self-governing body that was directly responsible to the leader of EOKA, Digenis. Among its activities was demonstrating against the British rule in Cyprus.
The armed struggle started on the night of March 29 – April 1955. A total of 18 bomb attacks occurred in various locations across the island. Most notable incidents were those of Nicosia by the group of Markos Drakos as well as the demolition of the Cyprus Broadcasting Station's transmitter. The attacks were accompanied by a revolutionary proclamation signed by "The leader, Digenes". Grivas decided to keep his involvement secret at the moment and used the name of a Byzantine general who had defended Cyprus in the medieval era. Grivas also prohibited attacks on the Turkish Cypriots at the time, and only wanted British soldiers and Greek collaborators to be targeted. The British, not expecting this turn of events, reinforced their local military bases (Dhekelia and Akrotiri) by transferring troops from Egypt.
At the end of April EOKA attacks temporarily paused, giving time to Grivas to organize the youth. A second offensive was launched on June 19 with coordinated bomb and grenade attacks against police stations, military installations and the homes of army officers and senior officials. One of those bombings demolished the building of the Famagusta Police headquarters. Those attacks were usually followed by sporadic incidents: shootings, bombings and increased public disorder. This second wave of EOKA attacks lasted until the end of June, totaling 204 attacks since the beginning of the armed resistance.
In August, two Special Branch members were assassinated in separate incidents. The raising of the Greek flag during demonstrations usually led to clashes with the colonial authorities, the latter removing it by force if necessary. Another major EOKA success was the escape from Kyrenia castle prison of 16 EOKA members including a number of key figures, such as Markos Drakos and Grigoris Afxentiou.
The situation seemed to be deteriorating out of control and the British authorities attempted to safeguard their position in Cyprus by diplomatic maneuvering and a counterinsurgency offensive. The first involved playing the Greek and Turkish governments off against each other. Eden saw Turkey as "the key protecting British interests" in Cyprus. By the end of September, as the crisis was escalating, the British Government decided to replace governor Armitage. Then, British policy also aimed at the dramatic increase in recruitment of Turkish Cypriots. By the start of 1956, they had come to dominate the police force numbering 4,000 compared to less than 1,000 Greek Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots were very much in the front line against EOKA. Inevitably, the use of Turkish Cypriot policemen against the Greek Cypriot community exacerbated relations between the two communities.
In August 1955, Adnan Menderes the Turkish president at the time, announced that Turkey wouldn't accept any change in the status quo of Cyprus which were not in Turkeys interests. In Turkey, the public opinion was un-eased. Rumors were spreading in Turkish media that a slaughter of the Turkish Cypriot community was likely to occur. Though they were unfounded they led to nationalist reactions in the country and the government-sponsored anti-Greek Istanbul pogrom of September 1955. At the same time, during the London Trilateral Conference between Britain, Turkey and Greece, an agreement failed to materialize due to Turkish intransigence. During a meeting between the end of August and 7 September 1955, Turkey also argued that if the status quo of Cyprus under a British administration would not be respected, the whole Treaty of Lausanne would be questionable.
The new British governor John Harding arrived at October 3. Harding sought to meet Archbishop Makarios, and both agreed on commencing what became known as Harding-Makarios negotiations. Increased security and stepping up military might was of Harding's priorities. On November 26, Harding declared a State of Emergency – that meant among other, implementation of the death penalty for non-fatality crimes.  Repressive legislation and troop reinforcements did not succeed. The Greek Cypriot population was hostile and the Special Branch was neutered. The British response was large-scale cordon and search operations which rarely resulted in arrests or the discovery of arms caches, but which invariably alienated those whose houses were searched or who were roughed up and dragged off to be screened. Collective punishments, far from undermining support for EOKA, only succeeded in making the Greek Cypriots more hostile to British rule. Moreover, Harding viewed Cyprus very much as a pawn in the Cold War global situation: on December 13 he banned AKEL and detained 128 of its leading members, effectively crippling the only political party in Cyprus that opposed EOKA.
The inevitable result was to increase sympathy for EOKA and to assist its recruitment efforts. The problem was that the Greek Cypriot community was overwhelmingly in favour of Enosis. Far from moderates emerging with whom Britain could do a deal. It was this popular support, enabling Grivas and his small band of guerrillas to take on the growing security apparatus that Harding was marshaling against him, that sustained the armed struggle. It became clear that EOKA did have an effective intelligence apparatus and that the guerrillas were often forewarned of security intentions. Schoolchildren, domestic servants, civilian personnel on the military bases, the police, all were enlisted by Grivas in the intelligence war while the security forces were operating in the dark.
Operation "Forward to Victory" (Greek name) was launched on November 18 and was accompanied by several bomb attacks. In the urban areas, schoolchildren had a prominent role in the EOKA struggle. The Battle of Flags, escalated during the Autumn of 1955 and peaked in January and February 1956- that kept British forces busy away from chasing down EOKA. Schoolboys were not only participating in riots and stone-throwing against the police, but some of them were also trained to throw bombs and carry assassinations. Bombs by guerrillas and youngsters were thrown at British personnel houses, police stations and army camps. In some cases, EOKA members managed to steal some weaponry. The British were never to succeed completely eliminating EOKA agents from the police force.
The struggle continued in the mountains as the guerrillas expanded their network in the Troodos mountains. However, due to harsh winter conditions in addition to certain British military pressure, the activity of EOKA temporarily eased. By the end of February 1956 the British were involved in suppressing a veritable schoolchildren revolt that left one boy shot dead and the island's school system almost completely closed down.
After the failure of Makarios-Harding negotiations the British government abruptly exiled Makarios to Seychelles on March 9, 1956. This triggered a week long general strike followed by a dramatic increase in EOKA activity: 246 attacks until March 31 including an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Harding. The offensive continued into April and May and the British casualties averaged two killed every week. While Harding's forces were making ground up in the mountains, EOKA guerrillas and youth were trying to assassinate members of the security forces at their leisure time or alleged traitors.
EOKA focused its activity to urban areas during this period. House bombings and riots, mostly by schoolboys, forced army to keep forces away from the mountains where EOKA's main fighters were hiding. Apart from individual citizens or soldiers in their leisure time, army and police facilities were attacked totaling 104 house bombings, 53 riots, 136 acts of Sabotage, 403 ambushes, 35 attacks on police, 38 attacks on soldiers and 43 raids on police stations.[c] But as the pressure of Harding mounted, Grivas began targeting Turkish Cypriot policemen effectively sparking inter-communal riots and a series of strikes
Harding escalated his fight against EOKA organizing a series of operations in April–July[d] Harding also upgraded his intelligence network including the creation of the notorious X-platoon. On May 10 the first two EOKA prisoners were hanged and Grivas responded with the execution of two British soldiers. The British were concerned to counter EOKA's mountain units. Large scale operations were launched however Grivas managed to escape. He decided to move to Limassol where he established his new headquarters. Although Grivas escaped, the Troodos operations had some success for the British: 20 guerrillas and 50 weapons were captured. However, they ended up with a disaster: at least 7 British soldiers were killed and additionally 21 were burned to death by accident. The last incident overshadowed the first real success against the EOKA guerrilla forces.
On August 9 the British authorities hanged three more EOKA prisoners; however, Grivas did not retaliate this time. Widespread strikes were held in protest. In November 1956 due to the Suez Crisis large numbers of British troops were transferred off Cyprus allowing Grivas to launch a new offensive. EOKA launched a wave of attacks in what would become for the British "Black November" with a total of 416 attacks, 39 killed 21 of the British. After the Suez debacle, the British military strength was increased to 20,000 and Harding managed to direct a new offensive.
Although EOKA activity was severely suppressed in the mountains its armed struggle continued in the urban areas while the British forces were apparently impotent. Grivas declared truce on the 14th of March 1957 which lasted nearly one year.
Harding continued to pressure EOKA despite the unilateral truce imposing security measures on villagers. This backfired at the British Forces as EOKA made gains in the field of propaganda.
Meanwhile, PEKA[e] was continuing the struggle for Enosis with political means, while EOKA was trying to recruit new members. Priests and teachers, under strict secrecy, were the scouting for young men aged 14–24, and were mostly successful. Grivas reorganized EOKA's structure. By Autumn, Grivas was increasing his autonomy from Greece and Makarios and was planning to attack the Left and the Turkish Cypriot community. The Greek government and Makarios were unable to prevent those initiatives.
Detention of Persons Law, passed on 15 June 1955, gave the authority to the British authorities to enclose a suspect in a detention camp without a trial.  PEKA and later Makarios and Greek Government pointed to the unhuman conditions in those camps. The situation of the inmates there was a matter of dispute  International Committee of the Red Cross visited the camps twice and found no problems. Harding declined the torture allegations, describing it as propaganda by EOKA. Torture allegations had an impact in internal British politics. The precise use of torture methods remains a matter of dispute. According to Heinz Richter, while police or army was generally lawful, the British turned a blind eye to interrogators many of whom were deliberately under-educated Turkish Cypriots who were against Enosis. Another aspect that Richter highlights is that many claims of torture were made as the alleged victims were afraid for their lives as it was punished by death to speak to the British. David French on the other hand views that most - but not all- claims of torture were a propaganda tool of EOKA. In general Harding failed to win over the Greek Cypriot population especially when his security forces resorted to this kind of measures.
Initially, EOKA was intimidating the population not to co-operate with the security forces, but steadily the definition of traitor broadened as the security forces had some successes EOKA at the end of 1956. EOKA members who had spoken to the security forces under interrogation were also considered as traitors and Grivas was in favour of the death penalty in such case. Incidences happened where EOKA guerrillas killed others by their own initiative and not solely based on accusations for treason. The killings took place in public. Such activity peaked especially during summer-autumn 1956. The Greek Cypriot Left and in particular the communist party (AKEL) were also targeted. The later aimed at a political role in the Greek Cypriot community challenging EOKA's claim that Makarios was the sole leader of the community. As AKEL was growing in numbers it was practically denying Makarios' role. The British delicately fueled this hostility and in August 1957 a second wave of intra-Greek violence broke out. Another similar wave broke out in April- October 1958 when a peace agreement was imminent. AKEL held massive demonstrations and sought the help of Makarios which he granted. A number of scholars characterize EOKA as a terrorist organization due to attacks on public utilities, assassination of members of the security forces, civil servants and intimidation methods towards local population and targeting civilians.
During this period the British were openly tolerating the Turkish Cypriot paramilitary organisations. The British had deliberately set out to use the Turkish Cypriot community on the island and the Turks government as a means of blocking the demand for Enosis. They had effectively allied themselves with the Turkish minority and turned them as the overwhelming majority in the police force. This had now got out of control as far as the British were concerned, but nevertheless they still managed to exploit the situation.
The truce against the colonial authorities lasted until 28 October 1957 (Ohi Day, Greek national holiday) when Harold Macmillan, British minister of foreign affairs, declined a proposal by Makarios.
Sir Hugh Foot arrived in Cyprus in December 1956, when it was obvious that a military victory for the British was not imminent. Grivas at that time was planning a gradual escalation of EOKA's attacks on the British forces but in mid-December, he called for a truce to give space for negotiations to take place. The truce broke on 4 March 1958 when a new wave of attacks was unleashed but this time, Grivas ordered his guerillas not to attack Turkish Cypriots to avoid intercommunal violence that could lead to partition.
The Turkish Cypriot community objected to Enosis long before the 1950s from fear that unification with Greece would lead to their persecution and expulsion, a fear based on the fate of Cretan Turks after Crete's union with Greece. Similarly, nationalism among Turkish Cypriots was constructed from various events that led to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Grass root paramilitary armed groups, such as Kıbrıs Türk Mukavemet Birliği ("Turkish Cypriot Resistance Unit"), Kara Çete ("Black Gang") and Volkan, appeared as early as May 1955. All of them were absorbed later by TMT (Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı/Turkish Resistance Organization) TMT was Turkey's tool to fuel intercommunal violence in order to show that partition was the only possible arrangement. Like EOKA, TMT used violence against members of its own community (i.e. leftists) that were not willing to stay in line with their cause.
EOKA avoided conflict against the Turkish Cypriots but this changed later from January 1957. According to French, Grivas decided to attack Turkish Cypriots so as to spark intercommunal tensions and rioting in the towns of Cyprus, forcing the British to withdraw their troops from hunting EOKA up in the mountains and restore order in urban areas. From 19 January 1957 to the end of March, EOKA's guerrillas attacked members of the Turkish community, starting with a Turkish Cypriot police officer, sparking riots lasting 3 days.
Intercommunal (and intra-communal) violence escalated in the summer of 1958 with numerous fatalities. French counted 55 assassinations by Turks on Greeks, and 59 assassinations by Greeks on Turks between 7 June-7 August. A substantial number of Turkish Cypriots fled from the southern parts of Cyprus and moved to the northern side due to the violence. In order to tackle the intercommunal clash, Foot mounted Operations "Matchbox" and "Table Lighter". A truce was called in August, backed by the Greek and Turkish Governments.
British authorities were unable to suppress EOKA activity, so the British government was trying to reach a solution that wouldn't embarrass Britain. MacMillan Plan put an effort in this direction. Greeks rejected the plan as they saw it as an open door leading to the partition of the island and Grivas cancelled the truce on September 7. As such a new armed campaign was launched and the targets differed significantly from the previous periods. Grivas ordered guerillas to "strike indiscriminately at every English person wherever they can be found" resulting in the death of 8 British citizens in 104 incidents attacks in the following two months. But while the military force of EOKA was growing, Greek Cypriots were getting frustrated from the intercommunal violence and the struggle against the British. Makarios hinted in an interview that he was ready to shift his stance and accept an independent Cyprus. This development infuriated Grivas but was backed by influential members of the Greek Cypriot Community. EOKA was losing its broad support base. 
During the last months of 1958, all parties had reasons to favour a compromise. Greek Cypriot side was afraid that partition was becoming more and more imminent, Greece was anxious that the ongoing situation could lead to a war with Turkey, Turkey had to manage the ongoing crises at its eastern borders and the British didn't want to see NATO destabilizing because of Greek-Turkish war. On 5 December, the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey acknowledged the situation and a series of meetings were arranged that resulted in London-Zürich Agreements. This was a compromise solution in which Cyprus would become an independent and sovereign country. Both Makarios and Grivas accepted the agreements with a heavy heart, instead, Turkish-Cypriot leadership was enthusiastic about the compromise. On 9 March 1959, Grivas issued a leaflet declaring his acceptance to London agreements.
According to historian Heinz Richter, the activities of EOKA resulted in the death of 104 British soldiers, 54 policemen (among them 15 Greek Cypriots, 22 Turkish Cypriots and 12 British) and 238 citizens (among them 26 British, 203 Greek Cypriots and 7 Turkish Cypriots)
After Zurich-London agreement and the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, Makarios, who became the first president, staffed the Government and Civil service with EOKA members. Extremists of both communities stayed armed and continued to seek their ends, Enosis or Taksim. Ministers and other EOKA veterans joined the secret Akritas organisation, with Polycarpos Giorkatzis as new "Digenis". As each community strived for opposite ends, the newly formed state soon collapsed, after Makarios changed the constitution unilaterally, paving the way to the intercommunal violence.
Grivas returned secretly to Cyprus to continue the EOKA struggle for Enosis. He created EOKA B and after his death, with the aid of military Junta of Athens, they attacked government buildings, Makarios himself and AKEL. In 1974, EOKA B joined forces with the greek military units on the island and the Cypriot National Guard at the coup against Makarios.
The authorities of the Republic of Cyprus consider the EOKA struggle as a struggle of national liberation and its members as heroic freedom fighters. The day of the beginning of the EOKA campaign, 1 April, is considered a national anniversary in the country today. Turkish nationalist narrative as written in a Turkish-Cypriot textbook considers the struggle of EOKA's guerillas as barbaric and illegal with the conclusion that "Cyprus is and will remain Tùrkish" (p. 61)."
There are various monuments dedicated to the members of EOKA who died during the years of combat who are largely regarded as war-time heroes by Greek-Cypriots. Part of the central jail of Nicosia established by British governor Harding functions after the Cypriot independence as a museum. This includes the prisons cells, the gallows and the "Incarcerated Graves" of 13 EOKA fighters who were either executed or killed by the colonial authorities.
Torture tactics employed by the British in Cyprus included the use of beatings, public floggings, clean beatings, forced standing, ice, and drugs. Other torture included anal and vaginal insertion of hot eggs, a tactic also employed by the British in Kenya. A British Special Branch interrogator in Cyprus stated that he had devised the "hot egg under the armpit" technique". In a few instances electrotorture was also applied. Jack Taylor, a British policeman who was sent to Cyprus in September 1956 revealed that there were beatings of prisoners, while British Brigadier Harbottle confirmed that the British Special Branch used torture. These statements confirm the use of torture in Cyprus by the British, although how widespread and frequent its use was remains unclear. In 2012, Foreign Office released highly classified documents that described claims of torture and abuse between 1955–1959. In the reports it is revealed that officers of the colonial administration admitted to torture and abuse. In the same papers, there are allegations against British soldiers and security personnel concerning the murder of a blind man, ordering a Greek Cypriot to dig his own grave, and hitting a pregnant woman who subsequently miscarried. Other allegations include the 1958 mass arrest and beating of 300 civilians by colonial forces. In the incident, it is alleged that the British forces left some civilians behind, thinking they were dead. A woman provided details of her rape in a forest, at the age of 16, by members of the British Special Forces, and her subsequent "brutal interrogation" regarding her connection to EOKA which included a mock execution and forcibly wearing a noose. In another incident, a man lost his kidney following an interrogation at the notorious "Red House" building in Limassol.
Following the release of the documents, EOKA veterans announced that lawsuits were being planned against British authorities. The veterans association alleged that at least 14 Cypriots died and hundreds more could have been "tortured during interrogations" by the British during the 1955–1959 campaign. Two of those who allegedly died during interrogation were aged 17. The legal action comes on the back of the uncovering of secret documents released in 2011 which present similar practices during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya, during the same period.
In 2018, Cypriot veterans won the right to claim damages over UK torture claims at court. The presiding judge dismissed arguments by the British government that the case should be judged under Cypriot law, which, if true, would have meant that the statute of limitations applied in the case. The judge commented that "It seems to me that, in this case at any rate, where a state stands to be held to account for acts of violence against its citizens, it should be held to account in its own courts, by its own law and should not escape liability by reference to a colonial law it has itself made."
Declassified British archives have also revealed that the Information Research Department (IRD), a secret propaganda wing of the UK Foreign Office which dealt with Cold War propaganda, was responsible for spreading fake news claiming that EOKA rebels had raped schoolgirls as young as 12-years-old. These black propaganda stories were spread to American journalists as a part of "Operation TEA-PARTY".
Categories: EOKA | Cyprus dispute | Greek Cypriot nationalism | Guerrilla organizations | Military history of Cyprus | National liberation movements | Secession in Cyprus | Separatism in the United Kingdom | 1955 establishments in Cyprus | Cyprus–Greece relations | Greek revolutionary organizations | Megali Idea | Anti-English sentiment