Greek Cypriot nationalism, also known as Cypriot Hellenism, is a form of ethnic nationalism emphasising the Greekness of the Cypriot nation. It is not the same as Greek nationalism, the main goal of which is the integration of Cyprus into Greece—a process known as enosis. Having abandoned the idea of enosis, Greek Cypriot nationalists now aim to establish a Greek Cypriot-controlled state with close relations to Greece, which they see as their "motherland".[1] Variants of Greek Cypriot nationalism have been espoused across Cyprus' political spectrum by the centre-left Movement for Social Democracy, the centre-right Democratic Party and Democratic Rally, and the right-wing New Horizons, as well as the Church of Cyprus.[1]

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 led to an initial marginalisation of Greek Cypriot nationalism and the consequent rise of Cypriotism, in opposition to traditional Greek nationalism;[2] however, the 1981 election of Andreas Papandreou as Prime Minister of Greece with his policies of "nationalising" the Cyprus problem and his February 1982 visit to Cyprus led to a renewal of Greek Cypriot nationalism.[3] In November 1993, Papandreou and President of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides announced the merging of Greek and Cypriot foreign and defense policies under a new "Joint Defense Space Doctrine", and Cyprus became a member of the European Union in 2004, which was seen as the best possible alternative to full-blown enosis. Opponents of the move included Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktaş, who called it "enosis through the back door".[4]

Greek Cypriot nationalism and Cypriotism contrasts, with opposing views on the causes and solutions for the Cyprus dispute, which correspond to right–left political opposition.[2] The slogan for Greek Cypriot nationalism is "Cyprus is Greek", while Cypriotism's slogan is "Cyprus belongs to its people".[2]


Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus.
Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus.

The Ottoman Empire ceded administration of Cyprus to the United Kingdom with the secret Cyprus Convention (1878). During World War I, the British formally annexed Cyprus as a crown colony. The 1950 referendum on unification with Greece, organized by the Orthodox Church, with only Greek Cypriot vote eligibility, ended with 96% approval.[5] Greece appealed to the UN in 1954 to apply the right for self-determination on Cyprus.[6] The Cypriot intercommunal violence led UN peacekeeping establishment on the island. The London-Zürich Agreements led to the independence of Cyprus, proclaimed on 16 August 1960. Several coups were staged by Orthodox bishops against Makarios III in March 1972 to July 1973.

The 1974 Cypriot coup d'état, staged by the Cypriot National Guard and Greek military junta, was successful, but short-lived, as it sparked the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (1974) that led to the fall of the junta and the Turkish occupation of 36.2% of Cyprus' territory. In 1983, the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" was unilaterally declared, but has so far failed to achieve international recognition (it is recognised only by Turkey), and has been under a severe international embargo.

Political parties



See also


  1. ^ a b Hay & Menon 2007, p. 125.
  2. ^ a b c Madianou 2012, p. 40.
  3. ^ Chrysostomos Pericleous, Cyprus Referendum: A Divided Island and the Challenge of the Annan Plan, pp.117-121, 2009
  4. ^ Christalla Yakinthou, Political Settlements in Divided Societies: Consociationalism and Cyprus, p.203, 2009, quoting Rauf Denktaş
  5. ^ Borowiec 2000, p. 30.
  6. ^ Borowiec 2000, pp. 30–31.


Further reading