One of the biggest monuments of Λευκωσία is the Liberty Monument erected in 1973. It honors the EOKA fighting against British colonialism and occupation of Cyprus. EOKA stands for Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters. It was a military organisation fighting for Cypriot independence and for long time it was seen as a right-wing, nationalist organization. Today their work for independence is accepted and it has its fair part in Cypriot history.

After the Turkish war for independence in 1920/1921 Turkey had to give up Cyprus and the British declared the island as their crown colony. In the 1950s EOKA was founded to achieve independence, but parts of the organization want Cyprus to be part of Greece. That was part of what is called the Enosis: the idea to bring all territories where the majority of people has Greek roots together as one Greece. And Cyprus could be part of it.

Greece as we know it today didn’t always exist. The Kingdom of Greece grew over time when the Ionian islands, Thessaly, Crete, Dodecanese, Macedonia and other areas joined it. Greece was reaching over to the mainland of today’s Turkey. A reason for the independence war in 1920/1921 and the everlasting rivalry between Greece and Turkey.

EOKA began a violet campaign against British occupation including several bombings. In the end Cyprus was close to a civil war as Turkish Cypriots were fighting against Greek Cypriots. In 1960 Cyprus gained independence, but this state lasted only fully until 1974 when joining Greece became a topic again and Turkey occupied the north of the island to stop this. Cypriot history is a complex story.

Liberty Monument

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