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Encyclopedia > Makarios

Makarios was the adopted name of Mikhalis Khristodoulou Mouskos (August 13, 1913 - August 3, 1977). Makarios was archbishop and primate of the autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church from 1950 until his death. He first pressed for the union of Cyprus with Greece (enosis), then for independence from the UK. As Archbishop, Makarios had the status of ethnarch of the Greek Cypriots. He was elected president of Cyprus in December 1959 and took up official duties August 16, 1960, at Cypriot independence. He served until his death, except for a brief period in 1974 when he was removed by a military coup sponsored by the junta that ruled in Athens.

He was born in the village of Panayia, in the Paphos district. He was bishop of Kition from 1948 and archbishop of Cyprus from 1950. He was an organizer of the Greek Cypriot resistance organization EOKA (“National Organization of Cypriot Fighters”). He attended the Bandung Conference in 1955. The British exiled him to the Seychelles in 1956 on charges of collusion acts of terrorism connected with his organization. When the British, Turkish and Greek governments agreed on conditions for the independence of Cyprus, Makarios was elected president, steering a course between the island's Greek and Turkish communities. Though in March 1961 Cyprus was admitted as member of the British Commonwealth and Makarios represented the island at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers΄ Conference, in September 1961 he participated in the Belgrade Conference of Heads of State of Non-Aligned Countries. When his term of office was about to expire in 1965 it was extended to 1968. During this time, the Americans regarded him as 'the Castro of the Mediterranean', a reference to the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and the apparent ideological similarities between the pair.

In 1974, the Greek military government in Athens sponsored a coup d'etat in Nicosia, hoping to replace Makarios with a new president who would be more committed to taking active steps towards Enosis. While addressing the UN Security Council on July 19 1974, Makarios accused Greece of having invaded Cyprus and of posing a threat to the Turkish-Cypriot community: "The coup of the Greek junta is an invasion, and from its consequences the whole people of Cyprus suffers, both Greeks and Turks." Makarios's castigation of Greece as an invader gave Turkey legitimate pretext to invade the island under the treaty of Guarantee. Turkey's self-proclaimed "peace mission" resulted in the occupation of the northern third of the island by August 1974, well after the military regime in Greece and the Greek Cypriot putschists had collapsed. The Turkish invasion has remained controversial ever since, and has met with opposition by the UN Security Council and other international fora. In December 1974 Makarios returned to a divided Cyprus, and resumed the presidency until his death in 1977.

External link

  • Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci's 1974 interview with Makarios (http://www.cyprus-conflict.net/makarios%20-%20interview%20with%20fallaci.htm)

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