The Green Line in Cyprus

Difficult Years......1957/1958

In January 1957, EOKA forces in the mountains were becoming increasingly pressured by British troops.
In order to reduce this pressure, EOKA members started intentionally to target Turkish Cypriot policemen in the towns.
This would provoke riots between the communities which would require the security forces to be diverted to the towns to restore order. 

The chaos created by these events drove the two communities further and further apart.

On the 22nd October 1957 Sir John Harding was replaced as British Governor of Cyprus by Sir Hugh Mackintosh Foot

A new British plan that rejected union either with Greece or Turkey was quickly withdrawn but not before a series of anti-British demonstrations were organised by the Turkish Cypriots.

January 28th 1958 - 100 Turks are hurt and 2 killed in several days of anti-British riots in Nicosia

The expected announcement of a plan from the British Prime Minister, Sir Harold Macmillan, provoked a fresh wave of violence between the two communities. Greek and Turkish Cypriots continued to leave mixed neighbourhoods and villages where they were in a minority.

A Turkish Cypriot village is evacuated......similar movements were also being forced upon the Greek Cypriot community
(This image is actually from a displacement in 1964 but serves to show the hardship suffered by communities forced to leave their homes)

On the 7th June 1958 a bomb exploded outside the Turkish Government Information Office in Nicosia. It was intended to give the impression that this was a Greek Cypriot attack on a symbol of the Turkish Cypriot community, but the bomb had been planted by the Turks themselves.
No one was hurt but a crowd of Turks assembled shouting anti-Greek slogans. They stoned cars and policemen, and started a fire. Church bells began to ring and Greek Cypriots assembled facing the Turkish quarter. More fires were started and fighting between the communities led to deaths and injuries on both sides.

British soldiers add a barbed wire fence to a crossing point between the two communities in Nicosia
The photograph is dated July-August 1958

Soldiers at the same location allowing Greek Cypriot government employees to pass through the Turkish Quarter
The photograph is dated the 9th August 1958

"Foot knew that the June riots could be the beginning of communal strife of a more serious kind than any we have yet seen since 'it indicates that Turks are prepared to carry out attacks on Greek property in order to serve their political ends'. He was right. Between June and August 1958 Cyprus descended into vicious intercommu­nal violence. Between 7 June and 7 August there were fifty-five assassinations and twenty-six attempted assassinations by Turks on Greeks, and fifty-nine assassin­ations and forty-one attempted assassinations by Greeks on Turks.
During this two-month period EOKA also continued to attack Greek Cypriot 'traitors', killing twenty-five of them and attempting to kill a further seven. Property damage was estimated to total £390,000."
Fighting EOKA: The British Counter-Insurgency Campaign on Cyprus, 1955-1959 by David French

British soldiers place a barbed wire fence around the Holy Church of Panagia Faneromeni.......the largest Orthodox church in the old part of Nicosia.
In the 1946 census, the district of Faneromeni had 1065 Greek Cypriot inhabitants, 10 Turkish Cypriot and 13 others.
The reason for a fence at this location is not known although it was the priest from this church, who, in October 1931, unfurled a Greek flag and shouted, "I proclaim revolution".

In 1959, Britain, Greece and Turkey decided that Cyprus should become an independent country.