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General Phaidon Gizikis became President with Adamantios Androutsopoulos as his Prime Minister



The Greek Military Junta
(Regime of the Colonels)
The Cyprus Dispute and fall of the Junta


Most senior officers decided that Papadopoulos was incompetent and that he should be blamed for the Polytechneio. On 25 November 1973, General Dimitrios Ioannides, head of the feared secret police (ESA), arrested Papadopoulos for deviating from the principles of the Revolution of 21 April. General Phaedon Gizikis became President and Adamantios Androutsopoulos was appointed Prime Minister. Ioannidis re-instituted martial law and resisted any opposition.

BackgroundSatellite image of Cyprus

The starting date of the dispute over Cyrus is open to argument and controversy. Most Greek Cypriots will hypothesize an uninterrupted Greek presence on the island dating back four thousand years. The Turkish presence on the island is more recent, dating back to the conquest of the island by the Ottoman Empire in 1571. Many Turkish Cypriots will point out this gives the Turkish Cypriots a four hundred year old right to regard the island as their home.

In more contemporary terms, the Cyprus dispute has been less about who has the right to live on the island. Instead, it has been focused on which country has the greater right to control the island - Greece or Turkey. Starting in the early-nineteenth century, the Greek Cypriots were looking to end almost 250 years of Ottoman rule over the island and unite Cyprus with Greece, a process called enosis. This call for enosis grew louder after Britain took administrative control of the island in 1878, following the Congress of Berlin.

Under the terms of the agreement reached between Britain and the Ottoman Empire, the island would remain an Ottoman territory. However, the Christian Greek-speaking inhabitants of the island saw the arrival of the British as a chance to lobby for the island's union with Greece. Britain refused to consider the idea.

At the beginning of World War I in 1914, Britain annexed Cyprus and, soon after, offered it to King Constantine I of Greece on condition that Greece joined the war on the side of the British. As the King wanted to keep Greece out of the war, he rejected the offer.

After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the new Turkish government formally recognized Britain's ownership of Cyprus and in 1925, Britain declared Cyprus to be a crown colony. In 1931, the demand for enosis led to open rebellion. A riot resulted in the death of six civilians, injuries to others and the burning of the British Government House in Lefkosia. In the following months about 2.000 people were convicted of crimes in connection with the violence. Britain reacted by imposing harsh restrictions. The governor became a dictator, empowered to rule by decree.

left to right: Archbishop Makarios III, Premier Minister Karamanlis and General Georgios GrivasIn 1950, Michael Mouskos, Bishop Makarios of Kition (Larnaca), was elevated to Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus. He vowed not to rest until union with "mother Greece" had been achieved. Colonel Grivas visited Cyprus in July 1951. He discussed his ideas of a guerrilla uprising. Grivas resented having to share leadership with the archbishop. Makarios, concerned about Grivas's extremism from their very first meeting, preferred to continue diplomatic efforts, particularly efforts to get the United Nations involved. In the end, the two became enemies.

In August 1954, Greece's UN representative formally requested that self-determination for the people of Cyprus be included on the agenda of the General Assembly's next session. Turkey rejected the idea of the union of Cyprus and Greece. The Turkish Cypriot community had consistently opposed the Greek Cypriot enosis movement but had generally abstained from direct action because, under British rule, the Turkish minority status and identity were protected.

The expressed attitude of the Cypriot Turks was that, when Britain withdrew, control of Cyprus should simply revert to Turkey although Turkey gave up all rights and claims to Cyprus in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot identification with Turkey had grown stronger, and after 1954 the Turkish government had become increasingly involved as the Cyprus problem became an international issue.

In the late summer and fall of 1954, the Cyprus problem intensified. On Cyprus, the colonial government threatened advocates of enosis with up to five years' imprisonment. In December, the UN General Assembly announced the decision "not to consider the problem further for the time being, because it does not appear appropriate to adopt a resolution on the question of Cyprus." Reaction to the setback at the UN was immediate and violent, resulting in the worst rioting in Cyprus since 1931.



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