AskDefine | Define enosis

Dictionary Definition

enosis n : the union of Greece and Cyprus (which is the goal of a group of Greek Cypriots)

Extensive Definition

Enosis (Greek: Ένωσις, meaning "union") refers to the movement of the Greek-Cypriot population to incorporate the island of Cyprus into Greece, a country which they considered their motherland (i.e country of origin).
Similar movements had previously developed in other regions with ethnic Greek majorities such as Crete and the Dodecanese. These regions were eventually incorporated into the Greek state.
The enosist movement was the natural outgrowth of national awareness among the ethnically Greek population of Cyprus (around 80% between 1882 and 1960), coupled with the growth of the anti-colonial movement throughout the British empire after the Second World War. In fact the anti-colonial movement in Cyprus was identified to the enosist movement, enosis being, in the minds of the Hellenic population of Cyprus, the only natural outcome of the liberation of the Cypriot people from Ottoman rule and later the British rule. A string of British proposals for local autonomy under continued British suzerainty were roundly rejected.
Enosis was put to a referendum held under the initiative of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The referendum was boycotted by the sizable Greek-Cypriot Left, as well as the Turkish Cypriot population. Among the rest, over 98% voted in favor of extracting the island from the British Empire and annexing it to the Kingdom of Greece.
In 1955, the guerrilla movement EOKA was formed in Cyprus in order to end British rule and annex the island to Greece. It was gradually recognized, however, that enosis was politically unfeasible due to the presence of the Turkish community and its increasing assertiveness. Instead, the creation of an independent state with elaborate power-sharing arrangements among the two communities was agreed upon in 1960, and the fragile Republic of Cyprus was born.
The idea of enosis was not immediately abandoned, though. During the presidential campaign for the 1968 elections, Makarios said that enosis was "desirable" whereas independence was "possible". This differentiated him from the hardline pro-enosis elements which formed EOKA-B and participated in a coup against him in 1974. The coup was sponsored by the military dictatorship of Greece, which triggered the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and resulted in the partition of Cyprus and massive population transfers. The coup and subsequent events seriously undermined the enosis movement. The ethnic homogeneity of the Republic of Cyprus which resulted after partition further eroded support for annexation to Greece, as the Greek Cypriot population started to strongly identify with the new polity "of the people, by the people, for the people". Enosis is nowadays no longer advocated by any mainstream political group.


enosis in German: Enosis
enosis in Spanish: Enosis
enosis in French: Enosis
enosis in Italian: Enosis
enosis in Dutch: Enosis
enosis in Polish: Enosis
enosis in Russian: Энозис
enosis in Finnish: Enosis
enosis in Turkish: Enosis
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