Greek Cypriot move to convert terror group leader's hideout into museum stirs outcry

World
Thu, 10 Nov 2022 9:53 GMT
Ultra-nationalist terror group EOKA's founder Georgios Grivas responsible for mass killings of Turkish Cypriots in 1958-1974
Greek Cypriot move to convert terror group leader's hideout into museum stirs outcry

A museum opened in the memory of Georgios Grivas, who led the Greek Cypriot terror organization EOKA for over 15 years, with public funds has sparked bitter memories of the group's bloody past and mass graves of Turkish Cypriots.

The Greek Cypriot administration recently decided to convert the Azina House, a hideout that Grivas used, to honor the founder of the ultra-nationalist group that systematically targeted Turkish Cypriots with a series of terrorist attacks.

 

This led to an outcry in the Turkish Cypriot community, as well as from many Greek Cypriots, due to Grivas' role in planning or actively taking part in these attacks from 1958 to 1974.

"It is a horrifying decision for us to turn one of the houses where Grivas was hiding into a museum," Turkish Cypriot historian Hatice Sahin told Anadolu Agency.

"This decision further fuels the already existing separation and confidence crisis between Turkish and Greek Cypriots," she stressed.

Founded by Grivas in 1954, EOKA staged its first terror attack a year later, though its primary objective was to fight against the British occupiers of the island in the East Mediterranean.

The terror group began committing more terror attacks and massacres against Turkish Cypriots in 1958, in line with its goals of clearing the island of Turks and uniting it with Greece.

 

Touching on Grivas' role in the atrocities against Turkish Cypriots, international legal scholar Emete Gozuguzelli said he had a track record of "actively committing unacceptable crimes against humanity and massacring Turkish Cypriots."

According to Ata Atun, an academic in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), stressed that the terror group's attacks and massacres against Turks have caused societal trauma.

The Greek Cypriot administration's decision to fund the Grivas museum will deal a major blow to years of UN and EU efforts to bridge the gap between Turkish and Greek Cypriots, Atun noted.

Mustafa Arikan, who heads a veterans association, also urged Turkish Cypriots to raise their voices against the decision.

Atrocities by Grivas-led EOKA terror group

Personally commanded by Grivas, EOKA militias attacked the Erenkoy area, today a western exclave of the TRNC, on Aug. 6, 1964, and were confronted by Turkish university students and resistance fighters.

Going down in the history as part of the Erenkoy resistance, a total of 18 Turkish Cypriots were killed by EOKA terrorists.

 

Greek and Greek Cypriot troops, along with EOKA militias commanded by Grivas, also attacked the Gecitkale area, where they committed a mass slaughter. Twenty Turkish Cypriots were killed and buried in mass graves by the perpetrators.

Again, EOKA terrorists commanded by Grivas and the Greek Cypriot National Guard tortured 27 villagers to death in the villages of Kofinou and Agios Theodoros, burying their bodies in a mass grave. All the victims of the EOKA terrorists in these villages were civilians.

While Grivas was in Greece in 1959-1964, EOKA terrorists carried out more attacks, including the infamous Bloody Christmas massacre, also called Black Christmas, in which they killed over 370 Turkish Cypriots and displaced 25,000-30,000 others during the Christmas season of 1963.

During the deadly terror campaign, 109 Turkish villages were forced to evacuate, while over 2,500 Turkish houses were severely damaged or demolished, according to a UN report released on Sep. 10, 1964.

Decades-long dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation of the island led to Türkiye’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece, and the UK.

The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots single-handedly blocked a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.

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