The Study of the Human Past

“Enosis in the political discourses of the Greek and Cypriot Left in the 1950s and 1960s: The multifaceted trajectories of a movement”

Christofis Nikos

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Summary of the Research Proposal

The focus of proposed project, contrary to mainstream literature on the Cyprus Question that treats the issue through diplomatic and/or through the “national” narrative, will not be on the elements and the character of the Cypriot struggle itself but on how the demand for enosis has been transferred and internalized both politically and socially in Greece and Cyprus. In other words, the Cyprus Question will be treated not just as an issue of “national” importance and meaning but also as a fundamental element that defines and shapes Greek domestic political life, and as such it will provide a point of congruity and contradistinction of different ideological and political currents in Greece. In other words, the “Cyprus Question” becomes not only a signifier, but also an object of negotiation.

The aim of this project is to analyze the terms and the preconditions of re-signifying the Cyprus Question itself in the discourses of the Left, especially within a Cold War context, and explore how these were expressed within the given political conjecture and thus demonstrated broader political meanings and counterpoints. This project will therefore be based on the negotiations over the Cyprus Question carried out by political parties, mostly the Greek and Cypriot Left, since the national aspiration of enosis had become a nodal point in Greek and Cypriot political life. To do that, a series of questions will need to be answered:
a) How was the demand for enosis incorporated into the political programs of the Left in Greece and Cyprus?
b) How did this change the political outlook of the parties?
c) How did the Left itself treat, incorporate, and interpret the issue every time new developments took place that led to different approaches to the issue of enosis?

Lastly, an issue of pressing importance concerns how enosis has been interpreted within a colonial/post-colonial context and, in light of that, how the relationship that socialism has had with nationalism has shifted. In other words, this project will attempt to not only be a study of the history of Greece and Cyprus, but also of the ‘Cyprus Question’, through the Left and in juncture with the Left.


This research project was funded by the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH), with the support of the

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Research Project: “Enosis in the Political Discourse of the Greek and Cypriot Left: The Multifaceted Trajectories of a Movement”

Researcher: Dr. Nikos Christofis

The research project «Enosis in the Political Discourse of the Greek and Cypriot Left: The Multifaceted Trajectories of a Movement» was funded by the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH) for the year 2017, with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.


Description of the project

The present project focuses on the movement for enosis (i.e., union with Greece). Specifically, it explores how, and to what end, enosis was instrumentalized by the Greek and Cypriot Left during the 1950s and 1960s, and the Turkish Cypriot reaction to it. The project explored the issue from two vantage points, the first being legislative, with a focus on the politics of the two legally elected representatives of the Left in Greece and Cyprus. In the Greek Cypriot case, identifying the ‘Left’ is simple: it is still represented by AKEL (the Progressive Party of Working People), once the Communist Party of Cyprus (CPC). In the Greek case, the research focused on the legal post-civil war representative, namely the EDA (United Democratic Left). This choice was made deliberately as it is perceived that the party’s impact on the people – through its parliamentary representation and the party’s relatively free circulated publications (party programme, its newspaper Avgi, etc.) – was more direct than that of the Communist Party (KKE). The latter was outlawed at home and had to operate from abroad.

The second vantage point is that of the struggle of the labor movement. Here, the research focused on the joint struggle of Greek and Turkish Cypriot workers and how their relations soured as the AKEL adopted the political demand for enosis.

The research was conducted in Greece and Cyprus and in particular at the Archives of Modern Social History (ASKI) in Athens and at the Prometheus Research Centre in Nicosia and Press and Information Centre (PIO), of the Republic of Cyprus in Nicosia.[1]

Presentation of the project

The transfer of political jurisdiction over Cyprus to Great Britain in 1878 facilitated British imperial expansion in the Mediterranean (and in particular to cement its control over Mediterranean trade) as well as to contest other great powers for hegemony in the area.[2] The British occupation of the island was initially welcomed by Greek Cypriots, who greeted them as liberators from Ottoman rule. This perception would change soon enough, as the ‘high-modernist’[3] colonial administration restructured the entire society with reforms and heavy taxation that were completely alien to the local population and in direct opposition to local customs and traditions.[4] The reforms were seen as necessary for the economic development of the island, in turn justifying the British presence.

Within this context, Cypriot grievances were manipulated and capitalized on in the pursuit of their enosis agenda by the Greek Cypriot political elites.[5] Expectations for enosis had already been raised and led by the Church of Cyprus – driven by the so-called Megali Idea (Great Idea), the Greek irredentist concept of unifying every Hellenic population and territory.[6] In that context, nationalism was identified with the political demand for enosis, which resulted from their strong reaction against British colonial rule[7] and their cultural and historic affinity with Greece.[8] As such, the political demand for enosis took the form of anti-colonialism and provided the cornerstone of mobilization efforts within the Greek Cypriot community. ‘Anti-colonialism’, however, ‘was not a unified stance’ and ‘different conceptualization of the anti-colonial struggle in Cyprus resulted in different goals and tactics among political actors, even within the same ideological camp’.[9]

Although, the Greek Cypriot ruling class (i.e., the nationalist bourgeoisie and the Church)[10] decisively shaped anti-colonialism’s content,[11] this was challenged by the Communist Party of Cyprus (CPC). The CPC was founded in reaction to the harsh economic conditions imposed by the colonial British on the island,[12] and the influence of the Russian Revolution in 1917, which laid the ground for the initial influx of communist ideas on to the island.[13]

Unlike the Turkish Cypriots, who were rather late in forming a communist ideology, the Greek Cypriot’s first experiment with communist ideas dates to the end of 1910s. At this time, Dr. Nikolas Yiavopoulos, a Greek by origin who stayed in Limassol, was impressed by Marxism while studying in Athens (1919–24) and became a member of the KKE. The recently founded Laborers’ Club, became a nucleus of agitation directed by newly-converted Cypriot Marxists.[14] In 1922 it was renamed as the Cyprus Labor Party (CLP), and although Yiavopoulos was deported from Cyprus by the colonial authorities in 1925 his followers continued his work on the island.[15] They, constantly growing in number, founded the island’s first influential communist newspaper Pyrsos,[16] which served as the predecessor of the CPC in 1926.[17] It becomes obvious that although the CPC was founded de facto in August 1926, with the help of the KKE,[18] the party had already existed de jure since the winter of 1923.[19]

According to the party program, both workers’ rights and the people’s representation should be defended. Furthermore, it held the colonial administration responsible for the ills of the people of Cyprus,[20] something that the former took under serious consideration.[21]

As far as enosis is concerned, the CPC took a negative stand. As expressed in Pyrsos:

[W]ith regard to the national question of Cyprus, that is union with Greece, which has been long regarded the major claim of the bourgeoisie, we remain partially indifferent because they are united with the British capitalists against our movement and the struggle of the workers.[22]

Additionally, for the first time a political formation was speaking on behalf of all the Cypriots, regardless of ethnic origin and religious creed,[23] and openly calling for a the establishment of a common class-based, anti-imperialist front.[24] That was a new perspective on the liberation of the Cypriots.[25] The CPC’s different approach can be explained by the appeal to the Turkish Cypriots, and the fact that it acknowledged that they would never ascribe to the enosis slogan.[26]

Although there was no massive influx of Turkish Cypriots into the CPC, there were some who participated without being officially registered. This can be partly explained by the lack of literature in Turkish on socialist ideas that could provide a theoretical background and introduce the people to those ideas. Furthermore, considering the Turkish Communist Party’s (Türkiye Komunist Partisi, TKP) limited influence in Turkey and the domination of Kemalism as the only state ideology of the newly established Turkish Republic, the late shaping of communist/socialist consciousness makes sense.

What becomes obvious throughout the communist movement in Cyprus, however, is that the decisions made by the CPC and, later, by the AKEL, affected directly or indirectly, the existence of the Turkish Cypriot communists. I would argue especially that the Turkish Cypriot workers and communists were treated as a ‘subaltern’ group, making Spivak’s question relevant, even today.[27] Due to the limited space for unionization, Turkish Cypriots workers found a space to express their views (as well as to express their grievances about the situation on the island and on the colonial administration) through the trade unions organized by their Greek Cypriots counterparts.

The CPC’s approach however, alienated all possible allies in the Greek Cypriot community. The party press declared ‘that the welfare of Cyprus is inextricably linked with the independence of Cyprus under a government consisting of peasants and workers’. All other political forces and personalities were wholeheartedly against communism as a social and political system and were thus further alienated by the CPC’s stances, while the party was also wrong in its insistence that the Greek Cypriots were against enosis. This fatally underestimated the strength of nationalist feeling among the Greeks of Cyprus.[28]

The first change in the Greek Cypriot Left’s take on the issue of enosis is noted during the 1931 October events (Oktovriana),[29] a period in which all political activity was outlawed, marking at the same time, the authoritarian form of British rule that followed. Interestingly, ‘the catalyst, was not a demand for enosis, or even a constitution, but annual budget estimates involving a need for extra taxes’.[30] The CPC not only abstained initially from this movement but opposed it. Underestimating the dynamic of the October movement, it deemed the Greek Orthodox Church and the big bourgeoisie to be the key instigators, and did all in its power to deride it. The Communist International condemned this stance of the CPC,[31] charged the party’s leadership with sectarianism and ousted thereafter its general secretary.[32]

Moreover, this shift became more straightforward in a communique the party issued on 23 October 1931, noting that ‘the difference between the nationalists who wanted union with Greece, and the communists, who were campaigning for a soviet republic of Cyprus (this was the party’s aim), should not be an obstacle to the formation of a common anti-imperialist front’.[33] This change of policy should be seen as affected both by international (the Communist International and KKE) and domestic factors. Notable here were the Church and the bourgeois circles, which were allowed to capitalize on the issue and thus claim the monopoly on the enosis movement.

The October events had a direct impact on the Turkish Cypriots also, and most relevant to our case, to those Turkish Cypriot workers who were actively involved in joint activities. In August the same year, the newspaper Söz published an article where the Turkish Cypriot leadership targeted those Turkish Cypriot workers and leftists that had taken part in events jointly with the Greek Cypriots.[34] In particular, the article states:

We shall not analyze or support the statements issued by the communists; but we shall only deal with those Turkish Cypriots, who had their names among the signatures and we shall explain our view and persuasion about this… We do not know them who approached and intermingled with the communists. But whoever they are, they have made us angry with their behavior and put us in a very dangerous situation […] If a few illiterate Turkish Cypriots who could not behave themselves were tempted by the propaganda of the communists and left our togetherness, our community has no deficiency and fault.[35]

The targeting of the Turkish Cypriot workers, however, was not enough to stop them from participating in numbers in joint demonstrations and strikes. For example, even after the CPC and other parties and organizations were declared illegal in August 1933, Greek and Turkish Cypriot workers organized a joint strike against the American-owned Cyprus Mining Company in 1936. Other joint struggles took place throughout the 1930s and 1940s, regardless of the AKEL’s shift in its political program regarding enosis. Indeed, until the mid-1940s Turkish Cypriot leftists were represented through the ‘Committee of Cypriot Trade Unions’ that was later renamed Πανγκύπρια Eργατική Oμoσπoνδία (Worker’s Federation of Cyprus, PEO) in 1946. Since there were no Turkish Cypriot trade unions at the time, the working class of the two communities pursued a collective struggle.[36]

The adoption of the enosis however, paved the ground of what would follow after 1950. AKEL’s shift started to alienate those Turkish Cypriots workers leading to the foundation of the first separate Turkish Cypriot trade union. The Turkish Cypriots founded the ‘Nicosia Union of Turkish Workers’ in 1944 and the umbrella outfit, the Organization of Turkish Cypriot Workers’ Unions (Kıbrıs Türk Isçi Birlikleri Kurumu, KTİBK) in 1945.[37] In October 1947, the first Turkish Cypriot left newspaper made its appearance, going by the title, İşçinin Yolu ŞAŞMAZ (The Road of the Worker DOES NOT DEVIATE).[38] The newspaper, however, soon ceased publication on the ground that it was ‘too ideological’.[39]

Despite this development, a significant number of Turkish Cypriots remained organized within PEO. For its sake, PEO opened a Turkish branch and started to publish in Turkish. Halkın Sesi is quite revealing in that respect, publishing an article in Turkish calling for joint action:

Turkish Cypriot brothers,

We talk to you for the first time as AKEList Turks. […] This voice that up to now you have been unable to hear is the voice of reality and of justice, which helps you to see through the deception and the ‘knots’ of the colonialists and their collaborators. […]

We shall not be viewers at this struggle of the people of Cyprus against colonialism […]. Because we are Cypriots. The place of the Turkish Cypriots labourers who suffer under the colonial administration like the Greek Cypriots cannot be on the side of the colonialists. The Turkish Cypriot workers live as difficult and hard a life as their Greek Cypriot friends. […] Cyprus has become a base of war. Therefore, both the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots are confronted with the same danger. If war is to break out, the atom and hydrogen bombs will not differentiate between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots; Greek Cypriot houses, schools and churches, as well as Turkish Cypriot houses, schools and mosques will become ashes. Under the colonial administration, both the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are deprived of their most democratic rights of expression and freedoms of assembly and press. At the same time, the administration of our schools like those of the Greek Cypriots are in the hands of the colonialists and the culture of our children is adjusted to the interests of the colonialists. […]. [40]

In the meantime, the CPC, after its ban, was renamed AKEL (to avoid further persecution by the British colonial authorities), and for a number of years the two parties co-existed. It is no coincidence that AKEL’s shift and espousal of enosis coincided with the discharge of atheism from its ideological profile.[41] As Tombazos argues:

By changing its stance as to the aim of the liberation struggle, AKEL sought its inclusion in the Greek Cypriot ‘national forces’, whose indisputable leadership lay with the Cypriot Church. Atheism, therefore, and anything that emphasized the ideological distinctness of the communist tradition, had to be blacked out.[42]

AKEL’s efforts to gain a foothold within the Turkish Cypriot community and establish itself as the party of all Cypriots (irrespective of national origin) were incompatible with both the aim of enosis and its desire to be accommodated within the ‘national forces’. This marked a break with its forerunner, the CPC, and saw it succumb to the nationalist pressures of the time, with the result that the prospects of peaceful coexistence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots on the island were quashed.[43]

It is true that through AKEL’s commitment to enosis, the party of the Left gave an additional impetus to the enosis movement, validating it at the same time. AKEL in its attempt to play an active role as one of the ‘national forces’ in the island endorsed the cause of enosis, to demonstrate its patriotism and become a legitimate partner with the rest of the ‘national forces’. In July 1945, AKEL clearly positioned itself in the enosis camp: ‘we demand the union with mother Greece’,[44] without, however, distancing itself from the united anti-colonial front that included Greek and Turkish Cypriots and Left and Right Cypriot political forces. Enosis, as the Left was interpreting it through anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism, was both anti-colonial and radical, and as such, it aimed at the full unification of all Cypriots.

To fully understand AKEL’s position on the issue of enosis, we must consider the influence exerted on it by the Greek KKE. For example, during the Constitutional Assembly         (Diaskeptiki) of 1948, during which the British called on some of the political parties to discuss a new constitution, the AKEL, although initially participated in the assembly, differentiated its position after the directives of the KKE, on the ground that the British proposals were an unacceptable compromise. This was derived also from the belief that the Civil War in Greece would be won by the KKE. Thus, after the failure of the assembly, AKEL resorted to mass rallies demanding self-government and the modification of the British proposals.[45] As a result, and due to the anti-communist frenzy among the British colonial administration and the Church and the Right that dominated the island (Cyprus could also not stay aloof from Cold War hysteria), the rise of the Left was contained.

The Greek Left faced similar dangers. After the Second World War, and especially after the Greek Civil War (1946–49), irredentism came to be expressed by the Right and was associated with patriotism and anticommunism, excluding the Left from the ‘patriotic scene’ of the country, especially, since the consequences of the Civil War were attributed en bloc to those of that political persuasion. Ethnikofrosyni (national-mindedness/loyalty to the nation), the updated ideological orthodoxy of pre-war Greece, emerged as an anti-communist platform; it was institutionalized in the security apparatus of the Greek state, and it served as ‘a measure of loyalty to national integrity and the “prevailing social order”’.[46]

Against this background, the Greek Left, represented legally in Parliament by the EDA, had to constantly prove its patriotism to be incorporated anew into Greek society. This was managed, painstakingly (and not always successfully), through the national issue of Cyprus, the Hellenicity of which, the EDA also claimed, was ‘beyond argument’. As a matter of fact, ‘nobody dared to question the Greekness of Megalonisos [Great Island] and the inalienable right of her people to unite with the national whole’.[47] Such a transition, according to the Left, would be achieved through self-determination; a stage that, because the island’s population was 80 percent Greek, would eventually lead to enosis. Self-determination however, could not be exercised because of Greece’s dependency upon US imperialism,[48] the primary goal of which was to ‘preserve the state of vassalage’.[49] Imperialism for EDA, in all of its aspects (economic, military, political), held the country captive, and made it unable to exercise an independent foreign policy that would set Cyprus free from British colonial administration, and imperialist designs in general.[50] The party argued that the country’s national independence was being undermined, as demonstrated by US objections to Greece bringing the issue to the United Nations, or the lack of any direct or indirect reference there to Cyprus’s self-determination.[51]

The common politics and tactics of Turkey and Great Britain in Cyprus, and those of the US through NATO, were presented by the EDA belonging to a ‘common imperialist camp’ that acted on the basis of a shared agenda: the perpetuation of the imperialist system through Cyprus. Increasing US interference in the domestic affairs of the country also marked the dynamic presence of Greek youth. They in large part supported the EDA and its belief that ‘the restoration of its [the people’s] dominant rights and enosis with Motherland Greece’,[52] would also mean the liberation of the country and Hellenism from its enemies par excellence: the Americans and NATO.[53]

For the EDA, the issue of Cyprus never ceased to be an anti-colonial issue that could be solved through united anti-imperialist struggle;[54] a consistent stance within the anti-Western, anti-NATO, and generally anti-imperialist climate of the period. The anti-imperialist, anti-Western agenda of the EDA was not always expressed through open support for the Soviet Union’s positions, mainly out of fear of the party being the target for being communist, but there was constant support for the Non-Aligned and Third-World countries and of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist climate that was taking shape during the Cold War. Indeed, the EDA very often referred to the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggle in Latin America and the Third World as comprising those forces whose support Greece should seek in relation to the Cyprus question.[55]

By hitting Cyprus, so the theory went, the imperialists ‘wish to numb the morale of the liberation movements. They want to establish an offensive military base to confront the “worrying” voices emanating from Afro–Asian shores’.[56] The imperialist conspiracy, one party supporter wrote, also managed to drag the Greek government in, because ‘the Greek government never realized that, behind the official declarations, enosis through the establishment of an independent Cypriot state and ensuring self-determination, means a national and fortified solution’.[57] This fortified solution was no other than the position of ‘Independence–Self-determination–Enosis’,[58] a position that was shared also by the Greek Cypriot leadership.

A few years later, during the EOKA (National Organization of Cypriot Fighters) armed struggle (1955–59) the right-wing dominance over the issue had become a given in Cyprus. The EOKA movement worked as a catalyst in turning the majority of Greek Cypriots towards the Right, and represented a new and radical method for claiming enosis, departing from the earlier, less militant, schemes of anticolonial mobilization utilized by the nationalists.[59] As far as the joint labor movement is concerned, it was dealt a heavy blow by the referendum on enosis held on 15 January 1950, without however, to put a halt to the joint struggles of the labor movement. For example, in 1954, PEO had a total of 18,085 members, including 1,700 Turkish Cypriots. Of these, 740 were registered to KTİBK. The following year PEO had 1,400 and KTİBK had 2,214 Turkish Cypriot members, while in 1957, of the total 3,244 organized and 5,256 non-organized Turkish Cypriot workers, 1,800 were registered with PEO and 1,800 with KTİBK.[60] Thus, we notice how the numbers change in favor of KTİBK, affected also later by the EOKA struggle.

        In the period pertaining to the failure of the assembly, the launch of the EOKA struggle in 1955 was opposed only by AKEL. This was because the leadership believed that:

Had the party supported an armed struggle it would have been destructive for the Cypriot Left, because it would have given the British imperialists the opportunity to obliterate the popular movement on the island.[61]

The Greek Civil War anti-communist ideological armor had also become part of Cyprus reality. Indicative in that respect is the fact that the forerunner of EOKA, the National Front for the Liberation of Cyprus (EMAK), rejected any involvement of AKEL in the struggle for enosis and warned that it would not accept any communists in its ranks. The embargo against AKEL’s participation in EOKA also owes a great deal to its leader, General Grivas, the notorious anti-communist leader of the organization ‘X’ during the Greek Civil War, whose anti-communist motives were widely known.[62]

Within this context, and by AKEL realizing that Makarios was not in total accord with Grivas and the bloody conflict between the two communities in 1957/58[63] evolving led AKEL to consider that a partition of the island was possible. In light of this realization, the Central Committee of AKEL issued a statement entitled ‘Declaration for Independence’.[64] The party’s turn to independence remained in effect after the proclamation of the Cyprus Republic in 1960. For example, in its 10th Congress of 8–11 March 1962, the party announced that: ‘The primary aim of AKEL’s policy is to complete the independence of Cyprus. The prime enemy of the Cypriot people in its effort to fulfill this target is foreign imperialism and its various representatives’.[65]

By the end of the 1950s, both communities became highly polarized, and the competition between the nationalisms and the absence of a shared political vision became the norm, to this day. This polarization is perhaps an underlying reason for AKEL’s position in the midst of the 1963/64 crisis, caused also in large part by the suggested amendments by Makarios. In that respect, AKEL suggested that Makarios not submit the 13 points, but it did not officially take a position against him doing so; on the contrary, it suggested the Turkish Cypriots accept the 13 points.[66] As Tombazos notes: ‘The anti-imperialist struggle was reduced to a stage for servicing the “age-long desires” of the Greeks of Cyprus, of course at the expense of the “age-long desires” of the numerically smaller community of the Turks of Cyprus’.[67]

Thus, as the 1960s unfolded – and especially after the 1963/64 crisis and the repercussions for the Turkish Cypriots that followed (i.e. their withdrawal to the enclaves,[68] the murder in April 1965 of Derviş Ali Kavazoğlu, the Turkish Cypriot member of the Central Committee of the AKEL along with the Greek Cypriot trade-unionist, Costas Mishaoulis, as well as AKEL’s total alliance with Makarios pronouncing the slogan of ‘pure enosis’)[69] – all hope for a common struggle simply vanished.


[1] A fuller and in-depth account of the CPC and AKEL will be presented in a forthcoming book by I. B. Tauris. I thank the RCH for the opportunity to work on the topic. Due to word limitations, the report will refer to only briefly to some general findings, instead of presenting an in-depth analysis.

[2] Robert Holland, Blue-Water Empire: The British in the Mediterranean since 1800, Penguin, London, 2013

[3] The term is owed to James C. Scott, Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1998

[4] Kyriacos C. Markides, The Rise and Fall of the Cyprus Republic, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1977, p. 6

[5] George S. Georghallides, A Political and Administrative History of Cyprus 1918–1926, Cyprus Research Centre, Nicosia, 1979.

[6] Presenting thus, a strong manifestation of Greek nationalism that sought to resolve the problem of the nation-state. Elli Skopetea, The Model Kingdom and the Great Idea: Aspects of the National Question in Greece, 1830-1880, Polytropo, Athens, 1988, p. 257 (in Greek); for tis direct relevance to Cyprus, see Paschalis Kitromilides, “Greek irredentism in Asia minor and Cyprus”, Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, 1990, pp. 3-17

[7] For imperialism and colonialism, I was benefited from the discussion in Julian Go, Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012; Robert J. Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction, Oxford, Blackwell, 2001 and Jürgen Osterhammel, Kolonialismus, Munich, Verlag C.H. Beck, 1995

[8] Neophytos G. Loizides, ‘Ethnic Nationalism and Adaptation in Cyprus’, International Studies Perspectives, vol. 8, no. 2, p. 172-189

[9] Yiannos Katsourides, “Anti-Colonial Struggle in Cyprus: Actors, Conceptualisations, Methods and Motives”, Journal of Mediterranean Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, p. 33

[10] For a recent study, see Yiannos Katsourides, The Greek Cypriot Nationalist Right in the Era of British Colonialism: Emergence, Mobilisation and Transformations of Right-Wing Party Politics, Springer, New York, 2017

[11] On this point, see the discussion Michalis Michael, “History, the Ideological Use and the Different Anti-Colonial Rhetoric of the Left”, in Yiorgos Yeorgis and Yiannos Katsourides (eds,), The Cypriot Left during the First Period of the British Colonialism: Emergence, Formation, Development, Taxideftis, Athens, 2013 (in Greek); see also the review of the latter in The Cyprus Review, vol. 25, no. 2, Fall 2013, pp. 137-140

[12] For the dire economic and social conditions in the island, see Rolandos Katsiaounis, Labour, Society and Politics in Cyprus during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century, Cyprus Research Centre, Nicosia, 1996 and Yiannis Lefkis, Roots, Limassol, 1984 (in Greek)

[13] Yiorghos Leventis, Cyprus: The Struggle for Self-Determination in the 1940s: Prelude to Deeper Crisis, Frankfurt, 2001; Lefkis, op. cit,

[14] Yiorghos Leventis, “The Politics of the Cypriot Left in the Inter-War Period: 1918-1940”, Synthesis: Review of Modern Greek Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, 1997, p. 2

[15] Among them were, Christodoulos Christodoulides, a bank employee, Leonidas Stringos, a retail clerk and Demetrios Christomides, an accountant and journalist,

[16] Panos Fasouliotis, the editor of the newspaper, propagated the organization of the laboring and peasant classes of the island and establishing a party along the lines of the British Labor Party. Pyrsos, 6/19 December 1922, p. 1. The first communist newspaper that made its appearance in Cyprus was The Voice of the People and issued on 13/26 June 1922 in Limassol. Another one made its appearance a few months later on 23 October 1922 with the title Daily Herald. Two more, Labour and Avgi (Αβγή) followed but they were short-lived. The New Man published first on 1 January 1925 is the sixth chronological newspaper of the Left in Cyprus. These newspapers, as well as other that followed, although belonged to the Left did not share the same ideas with each other, such as the Observer (14 November 1925).

[17] Yiannis Papaggelou (Lefkis), Aimilios Hourmousios, Kostas Christodoulou (Skeleas), Christos Savvides, Ploutis Servas, and Charalambos Solomonides were some of the members.

[18] Lefkis, op. cit., pp. 183-196

[19] Rolandos Katsiaounis, The Constitutional Assembly, 1946-1948. With an Overview of the Period 1878-1945, Cyprus Research Center, Nicosia, 2000, p. 31 (in Greek)

[20] Pyrsos, 5 May 1923; 28 May 1923; 11 June 1923; 20 August 1923; 24 March 1924

[21] Michalis Michael, op. cit.

[22] Pyrsos, 21 February 1924

[23] Nicos Peristianis, “The Rise of the Left and of the Intra-Ethnic Cleavage”, in H. Faustmann and N. Peristianis (eds.), Britain in Cyprus: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism, 1878-2006, Bibliopolis, Mannheim, 2006, p. 245

[24] Neos Anthropos, 1 October 1926; Also First Congress of the Communist Party of Cyprus (CPC). Decisions, Prometheus Research Centre

[25] Neos Anthropos, 15 June, p. 4 and 1 July 1925, p. 4; Neos Ergatis, 9 September 1929, p. 2.

[26] Neos Anthropos, 18 September 1926; A neglected aspect is that the KKE at times criticized the CPC on the ground that it did not do much towards that direction. Rizospastis, 14 November 1928, p. 1; Rizospastis, 18 October 1930, p. 1.

[27] Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak?, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1988

[28] Yiannos Katsourides, “The National Question in Cyprus and the Cypriot Communist Left in the Era of British Colonialism (1922–59)”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, vol. 16, no. 4, 2014, p. 479

[29] For the October events, see Alexis Rappas, Cyprus in the 1930s: British Colonial Rule and the Roots of the Cyprus Conflict, London, I.B. Tauris, 2014

[30] Holland, op. cit., p. 207. Economic factors should be taken into consideration as regards the escalation of unrest. By 1931, the impact of the economic depression of 1929 had reached Cyprus. Exports dropped by 25% and the agricultural sector and the mining industry were badly hit. Shops were closed down and the peasants were unable to pay their debts to banks and usurers. The government’s revenue dropped below pre-1929 levels and at the end of 1930 the budget had a deficit of 70,000GBP. In short, mass unemployment and mass impoverishment was prevalent, just as it was all around the world at the time. Heinz Richter, “Benevolent Autocracy, 1931-1945,” pp. 133-134, in Hubert Faustmann and Nicos Peristianis (ed), op. cit.

[31] Bella Kun, the Hungarian chairman of the Balkan Office, heavily criticised this decision. Ploutis Servas, The Cyprus Problem: Responsibilities, Grammi, Athens, pp. 117-118 (in Greek)

[32] Stavros Tombazos, “AKEL: Between Nationalism and ‘Anti-Imperialism’”, in Ayhan Aktar, Niyazi Kızılyürek and Umut Özkırımlı (eds.), Nationalism in the Troubled Triangle: Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2010, p. 219

[33] As quoted in Leventis, op. cit., 1997, p. 11; see also, Sakellaropoulos, The Cypriot Social Transformation (1191-2004), Athens, Topos, 2017, pp. 224-229

[34] Ahmet An, İşçi Sınıfımızın İlk Öncüleri: 1958’e Kadar Emek Hareketinde Kıbrıslı Türkler, Nicosia, Khora, 2010

[35] Söz, 13 August 1931

[36] Niyazi Kızılyürek, “Turkish-Cypriot Left: A Historical Overview”, in Nicos Trimikliniotis and Umut Bozkurt (eds.), Beyond a Divided Cyprus: A State and Society in Transformation, Basingstoke, Palgrave, p. 170

[37] Niyazi Kızılyürek, Milliyetçilik Kıskacında Kıbrıs, Istanbul: İletişim, 2002, p. 260

[38] “İlk Solcu Fikir Dergimiz: İŞÇİNİN YOLU ŞAŞMAZ”, İŞÇİNİN YOLU ŞAŞMAZ, October 1947; Bener Hakkı Hakeri, “İşçinin Yolu Şaşmaz”, Kıbrıs Türk Ansiklopedisi, I. Kıbrıs Gazetesi Yayınları. 1992, p.181

[39] For targeting Turkish Cypriot workers and the promotion of establishing exclusively Turkish Cypriot trade unions, see for some examples Halkın Sesi, 22 July 1946; Halkın Sesi, 11 May 1947; HürSöz, 17 January 1947; HürSöz, 23 January 1947

[40] Halkın Sesi, 20 October 1954

[41] C. C. of AKEL, ‘Program and Statute of AKEL’, 5 October 1941; Anexartitos, 8 October 1941

[42] Tombazos, op. cit., p. 220

[43] Ibid

[44] AKEL, 4th Congress of AKEL, July 1945; Anexartitos, 21, 22, 24 and 26 August 1945.

[45] Ezekias Papaioannou, ‘Report regarding issues of tactic and organisation’, 19 July 1951, ASKI, folder 20/21/34, p. 21; Yiannos Katsourides, “National Question”, p. 487

[46] Ioannis D. Stefanidis, Stirring the Greek Nation. Political Culture, Irredentism and Anti-Americanism in Post-War Greece, 1945–1967, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007, p. 30

[47] The Cyprus Question in the Greek Parliament, vol. 1, 1997, p. 40

[48] EDA, Programme of the EDA Athens, EDA, 1961, pp. 13–14

[49] EDA, For A National Democratic Change, Athens, EDA,1961, pp. 8–9

[50] Nikos Christofis, “Anti-Imperialism in Greece and Turkey regarding Cyprus (1950s and 1960s)”, in Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope (eds.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 280-286

[51] EDA, Decisions and Announcements of the General Council and of the Executive Committee of the EDA on the Vital Problems of the People and the Country, Athens, EDA,1955

[52] Avgi, 20 April 1955

[53] Avgi, 6 December: 1958

[54] Nikos Christofis, “Greek and Turkish Left Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters on Cyprus during the Cold War”, in Nikos Christofis and Thekla Kyritsi (eds.), op. cit. (forthcoming)

[55] C. Odysseos, “Cyprus in the Plan of Imperialist Counter-Attack”, Helliniki Aristera, vol. 15, p. 49

[56] C. Odysseos, “The Middle Eastern Crisis and Cyprus”, Helliniki Aristera vol. 21-22, 1965, pp. 79–89

[57] A. Diamantopoulos, A., “Cyprus in the Centre of Conspiracy”, Helliniki Aristera, vol. 13, 1964, p. 3.

[58] Avgi, 9 February 1967

[59] Katsourides, “National Question”, p. 490

[60] Loukas Kakoullis, The Left and the Turkish Cypriots, Nicosia, 1990, p. 59 (in Greek)

[61] “The views of AKEL”, 5 May 1957, ASKI folder 20/22/27

[62] Alexios Alecou, “Imported Nationalism: The appearance and evolution of “X” organisation in Cyprus”, in Nikos Christofis and Thekla Kyritsi (eds.), Cypriot Nationalisms in Context: History, Politics, and Identity, Basingstoke:  Palgrave, 2018 (forthcoming)

[63] Niyazi Kızılyürek, Şiddet Mevsiminin Saklı Tarihi, Limassol, Heterotopia, 2015

[64] Yiannos Katsourides, “National Question”, p. 494

[65] AKEL, 10th Congress of AKEL, 8-11 March 1962; Neos Dimokratis, vol. 9, May 1962

[66] On the argumentation presented by the AKEL on that issue, see Tombazos, op. cit., pp. 227-228

[67] Ibid, p. 229

[68] On the state of emergency of the Turkish Cypriots, see Nikos Moudouros, “The development of a “sieged counter opposition”. The case of the Turkish Cypriots enclaves”, paper presented in the conference organized by the author Cyprus, the Left, and (Post)Colonialism, The Netherlands Institute at Athens, 13 October 2017. The revised papers of the conference will be published in Greek in an edited volume by the end of 2018.

[69] Niyazi Kızılyürek, “Daha Önceleri Neredeydiniz?” Dünden Bugüne Kıbrıs Müzakereleri, İstanbul, Birikim, 2009


Nikos Christofis is adjunct lecturer at the Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies, University of Macedonia, where he is also a post-doctoral researcher. He is also adjunct lecturer at the Postgraduate Program “Public History” at the Hellenic Open University. He received his PhD from the Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), University of Leiden, The Netherlands. He worked in the past in universities in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. He participated also in research projects, while he published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes in Greek, English, Turkish and Spanish. He edited volumes on Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. He is a member of the editorial board of the peer-reviewed journal New Middle Eastern Studies and chief editor of the academic website Ottoman and Turkish Studies, Dissertation Reviews.




Books – Collective Volumes

  • επ. Κύπρος, Αριστερά και (Μετα)Αποικιοκρατία, Αθήνα: ΚΨΜ, 2018/2019 (υπό προετοιμασία)
  • (με τον Gökhan Atılgan), Από το Γαλλικό στο Τουρκικό ’68: Πολιτική και Ριζοσπαστικοποίηση του Τουρκικού Φοιτητικού Κινήματος, Αθήνα: Τόπος, 2018 (προσωρινός τίτλος)
  • επ. Πόλεμος και Αντίσταση στη Θεσσαλία. Όψεις της Ιστορίας της κατά τη Δεκαετία του ’40, Αθήνα: Τόπος, 2017
  • επ. (με τη Θέκλα Κυρίτση), Cypriot Nationalisms in Context: History, Politics, and Identity, Basingstoke:  Palgrave, 2018


Selected Articles

  • “The AKP’s ‘Yeni Türkiye’: Challenging the Kemalist Narrative?”, στο Isabel David και Kumru Toktamis (επ.), Democratization Betrayed: Erdoğan’s New Turkey, Mediterranean Quarterly: A Journal of Global Issues, τ. 23, τχ. 3, 2018
  • “Politics and Nationalism in Cyprus”, Oxford Bibliographies, 2018
  • “Η Οθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία στον Απόηχο της Οκτωβριανής Επανάστασης: Ρεαλισμός ή Ιδεολογική Ταύτιση;», στο Κώστας Καρπόζηλος (επ.), 1917: Μεταξύ Επανάστασης και Ιστορίας, TA ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΑ, τ. 66, Οκτώβριος 2017, σσ. 145-164
  • “’Νέα’ εναντίον ‘Παλαιάς’ Τουρκίας: Συνέχειες και Ρήξεις», Σύγχρονα Θέματα, τ. 137, Απρίλιος-Ιούνιος 2017, σσ. 8-10
  • “Η τουρκική Αριστερά και το Κυπριακό τη Δεκαετία του ’60: Μεταξύ Αντι-ιμπεριαλισμού και Εθνικισμού», στο Νίκος Χριστοφής (επ.), Κύπρος, Αριστερά και (Μετα)Αποικιοκρατία, Αθήνα: ΚΨΜ, 2018/2019.
  • “Greek and Turkish Left Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters on Cyprus during the Cold War”, στο N. Christofis και Thekla Kyritsi (επ.), Cypriot Nationalisms in Context: History, Politics, and Identity, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2018
  • (με την Αμαρυλλίδα Λογοθέτη), “Turkey in Syriza’s Foreign Policy, 2015-2017”, στο Zuhal Mert Uzuner (επ.), The Role of the Image in the Greek-Turkish Relations, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2018.
  • “Turkey, Cyprus and the Arab Uprisings”, στο Hüseyin Işıksal και Oğuzhan Göksel (επ.), Turkey’s Relations with the Middle East: Political Encounters after the Arab Spring, New York: Springer, 2017, σσ. 133-147.
  • “Collective and Counter Memory: The ‘Invention of Resistance’ in the Rhetoric of the Greek and Turkish Left, 1951-1971”, στο Leonidas Karakatsanis και Nikolaos Papadogiannis (επ.), The Politics of Culture in Turkey, Greece & Cyprus: Performing the Left Since the 1960s, London and New York: Routledge, 2017, σσ. 208-227.
  • “Το Χρήσιμο Παρελθόν: Η Κύπρος στην Ελληνική και Τουρκική Αριστερή Ρητορική», στο Κοινωνική, Οικονομική και Πολιτική Ιστορία της Κύπρου, Λευκωσία: Προμηθέας, 2015, σσ. 171-195,
  • “Anti-Imperialism in Greece and Turkey regarding Cyprus (1950s and 1960s)”, στο Immanuel Ness και Zak Cope (επ.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, σσ. 280-286.
  • “Turkey and the Cold War”, στο Frank Jacob (επ.), Peripheries of the Cold War/Peripherien des Kalten Krieges, Comparative Studies from a Global Perspective Vol. 3, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2015, σσ. 257-281.