On This Day: Britain deports Archbishop Makarios from Cyprus for actively fostering terrorism

Simon Garner
On This Day: Britain deports Archbishop Makarios from Cyprus for actively fostering terrorism

March 9, 1956: Greek Cypriot leader Archbishop Makarios was deported on this day in 1956 from what was then one of Britain's crown colonies.

The British accused him of "actively fostering terrorism" because of strong intelligence at the time that he supported the Greek Cypriot guerrilla group, EOKA.

Makarios refused to denounce EOKA's violent leanings and agreed with them on the concept of "enosis": unification with Greece.

At the time Britain saw Cyprus as an important strategic military base and feared union with Greece would lead to a military withdrawal.

Calls from British supporters for Makarios' removal reached a head after two RAF servicemen were shot dead and another seriously wounded on the streets of Nicosia in February of '56.

The day after Makarios and three of his allies were deported to the Seychelles riots broke out in Cyprus.

The British Government was roundly condemned for the decision - with the US and the Opposition Labour Party objecting strongly.

It wasn't until Makarios publicly renounced his hope of "enosis" that he was allowed to re-enter the island in 1959 as chief Greek-Cypriot Minister in the new Greek-Turkish provisional government.

Later that year he became president and in 1960 Cyprus became independent.















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