Cyprus Emergency

The Cyprus Emergency was a period of violent unrest in British Cyprus between 1955 and 1959. It was characterised by a confrontation between the British and the ethnic Greek National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) which sought the end of colonial rule and the unification of Cyprus and Greece (enosis). This was also opposed by Turkish Cypriots who formed the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT). The period of conflict ended in 1959 with the signature of the London-Zürich Agreements which established Cyprus as an independent state, but separate from Greece.


In 1954 Britain announced its intention to transfer its Suez military headquarters (the office of the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East)[6] to Cyprus. The insurgency began on 1 April 1955. After a series of follow up incidents, the Governor General Sir John Harding declared a state of emergency on 26 November of that year.[7]

The British encountered great difficulty obtaining effective intelligence on EOKA as the majority of the Greek Cypriot population supported and/or feared them. They were also hampered by a drain on manpower caused by the Suez Crisis and Malayan Emergency. Towards the end of the 1950s the British enjoyed more success. Cyprus became an independent republic in 1960 with Britain retaining control of two Sovereign Base Areas, at Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

In January 2019 the British government agreed to pay £1 million to 33 Cypriots who were tortured by British forces during the uprising. They including a woman, aged 16 at the time, who said she was detained and repeatedly raped by soldiers, and a man who lost a kidney as a result of his interrogation. The payout followed the declassification of government documents in 2012, although Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan stated that "the settlement does not constitute any admission of liability" but that "the government has settled the case in order to draw a line under this litigation and to avoid the further escalation of costs".[8]

See also


  1. ^ Find your ancestors in Cyprus Emergency Deaths 1955 - 1960
  2. ^ CYPRUS 1954-1959 SGM Herbert A. Friedman (R) and Brigadier General Ioannis Paschalidis
  3. ^ CYPRUS 1954-1959 SGM Herbert A. Friedman (R) and Brigadier General Ioannis Paschalidis
  4. ^ CYPRUS 1954-1959 SGM Herbert A. Friedman (R) and Brigadier General Ioannis Paschalidis "The TMT, though smaller and less well organized, followed EOKA tactics..."
  5. ^ Find your ancestors in Cyprus Emergency Deaths 1955 - 1960
  6. ^ Richard J. Aldrich, Ming-Yeh Rawnsley, The Clandestine Cold War in Asia, 1945–65: Western Intelligence, Propaganda and Special Operations, Routledge, 2013, 106.
  7. ^ "State Of Emergency Declared In Cyprus". The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930–1956). Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia. 1 December 1955. p. 13. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  8. ^ "UK government pays damages to 33 Cypriot pensioners". BBC News. 23 January 2019.

Further reading

  • French, David (2015). Fighting EOKA: The British Counter-Insurgency Campaign on Cyprus, 1955–1959. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198729341.
  • Holland, Robert (1998). Britain and the Revolt in Cyprus, 1954–1959. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780198205388.
  • Novo, Andrew R. (2010). On all fronts: EOKA and the Cyprus insurgency, 1955-1959 (D.Phil Thesis). University of Oxford.

External links

British Cyprus

British Cyprus was the island of Cyprus under the dominion of the British Empire, administered sequentially from 1878 to 1914 as a British protectorate, a unilaterally annexed military occupation from 1914 to 1922 and from 1922 to 1960 as a Crown colony.

Charles Huxtable (British Army officer)

General Sir Charles Richard Huxtable (22 July 1931 – 26 November 2018) was a senior British Army officer who served as Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces between 1988 and 1990.

Douglas Kendrew

Major General Sir Douglas Anthony Kendrew, (22 July 1910 – 28 February 1989), often known as Joe Kendrew especially during his rugby career, was an officer of the British Army who served in Second World War and the Korean War, international rugby player and Governor of Western Australia from 1963 to 1974.

Geoffrey Baker

Field Marshal Sir Geoffrey Harding Baker, (20 June 1912 – 8 May 1980) was Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1968 to 1971. He served in the Second World War and became Director of Operations and Chief of Staff for the campaign against EOKA in Cyprus during the Cyprus Emergency and later in his career provided advice to the British Government on the deployment of troops to Northern Ireland at the start of the Troubles.

Henry Beverley

Lieutenant General Sir Henry York La Roche Beverley, (born 25 October 1935) is a retired Royal Marines officer who served as Commandant General Royal Marines from 1990 to 1994.

John Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton

Field Marshal Allan Francis Harding, 1st Baron Harding of Petherton, (10 February 1896 – 20 January 1989), known as John Harding, was a senior British Army officer who fought in both the First World War and the Second World War, served in the Malayan Emergency, and later advised the British government on the response to the Mau Mau Uprising. He also served as Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), the professional head of the British Army, and was Governor of Cyprus from 1955 to 1957 during the Cyprus Emergency.

Martin Garrod

Lieutenant General Sir John Martin Carruthers Garrod, (29 May 1935 – 17 April 2009) was a Royal Marines officer who served as Commandant General Royal Marines from 1987 to 1990.

Michael Davies (Catholic writer)

Michael Treharne Davies (13 March 1936 – 25 September 2004) was a British teacher and traditionalist Catholic writer of many books about the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. From 1992 to 2004 he was the president of the international Traditionalist Catholic organisation Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce and was responsible for the unification of Una Voce America.

Norman Tailyour

General Sir Norman Hastings Tailyour, (1914–1979) was a Royal Marines officer who served as Commandant General Royal Marines from 1965 to 1968.

One Morning Near Troodos

One Morning Near Troodos (1956) was a British TV play by Iain MacCormick which aired on the BBC as part of Sunday Night Theatre. It was the first British TV play about the Cyprus Emergency.

Peter Hellings

General Sir Peter William Cradock Hellings, (6 September 1916 – 2 November 1990) was a Royal Marines officer who served as Commandant General Royal Marines from 1968 to 1971.

Progressive Party of Working People

The Progressive Party of Working People (Greek: Ανορθωτικό Κόμμα Εργαζόμενου Λαού (ΑΚΕΛ), Anorthotikó Kómma Ergazómenou Laoú (AKEL); Turkish: Emekçi Halkın İlerici Partisi) is a Marxist–Leninist, communist political party in Cyprus.

AKEL is one of the two major parties in Cyprus, and it supports an independent, demilitarized, and non-aligned Cyprus, and a federal solution of the internal aspect of the Cyprus problem. It places particular emphasis on rapprochement with the Turkish Cypriots. It supported entry into the European Union with certain reservations. AKEL also supported the Annan Plan in 2004, but in the end, they decided on a negative response, since they did not have time to formulate a response to the plan.As a strong supporter of welfare benefits and nationalization, AKEL successfully put into practice several social measures to support the economic welfare of Cypriots during the late-2000s financial crisis, such as increasing low pensions by 30% and strengthening the welfare benefits given to university students to €12 million per year. Overall, €1.2 billion were spent on welfare benefits during the first three years that AKEL was in power, with various improvements made in social welfare provision. The party is now in opposition following the 2013 election. The party's candidate was defeated in the 2018 presidential election against the incumbent president.

Raid on Lepka

The Raid on Lepka took place in April 1957 as part of the Cyprus Emergency. British security forces attacked an EOKA guerrilla group in the mountains and captured seven leading EOKA officers including leader Georghis Demetriou and Mikkis Frillas.

Rauf Denktaş

Rauf Raif Denktaş, sometimes Rauf Denktash in English, (27 January 1924 – 13 January 2012) was a Turkish Cypriot politician, barrister and jurist who served as the founding President of Northern Cyprus. He occupied this position as the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus between the declaration of the de facto state by Denktaş in 1983 and 2005, as the President of the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus between 1975 and 1983 and as the President of the Autonomous Turkish Cypriot Administration between 1974 and 1975. He was also elected in 1973 as the Vice-President of the Republic of Cyprus.

Robin Dixon, 3rd Baron Glentoran

Major Thomas "Robin" Valerian Dixon, 3rd Baron Glentoran, (born 21 April 1935) is a former British bobsledder and Northern Irish politician, known as Robin Dixon. He is a former Conservative Party Shadow Minister for the Olympics.

Spyros Kyprianou

Spyros Achilleos Kyprianou (Greek: Σπύρος Κυπριανού; 28 October 1932 – 12 March 2002) was one of the most prominent politicians and barristers of modern Cyprus. He served as the second President of Cyprus from 1977 to 1988.

Spyrou Kyprianou Avenue (Greek: Λεωφόρος Σπύρου Κυπριανού) in Nicosia was named after him posthumously.

Steuart Pringle

Lieutenant General Sir Steuart Robert Pringle, (21 July 1928 – 18 April 2013) was a Royal Marines officer who served as Commandant General Royal Marines from 1981 to 1985 and was seriously injured by an IRA car bomb in 1981.

The High Bright Sun

The High Bright Sun is a 1964 British action film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Dirk Bogarde, George Chakiris and Susan Strasberg. It is set in Cyprus during the EOKA uprising against British rule in the 1950s. It was based on a 1962 novel by Ian Stuart Black.

Turkish Resistance Organisation

The Turkish Resistance Organisation (Turkish: Türk Mukavemet Teşkilatı, TMT) was a Turkish Cypriot pro-taksim paramilitary organisation formed by Rauf Denktaş and Turkish military officer Rıza Vuruşkan in 1958 as an organisation to counter the Greek Cypriot Fighter's Organization "EOKA"(later "EOKA-B"). The name of the organization was changed twice. In 1967 to "Mücahit", and in 1976 to "Güvenlik Kuvvetleri Komutanlığı"(Security Forces Command Center).

Cyprus Emergency
Other areas

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.