Cyprus became an independent country in 1960 as a result of the Zurich and London agreements (February 1959), but did not achieve the aim of official union (énosis) with Greece. This unexpected turn of events, for the EOKA fighters, raised deep disappointment and had as an immediate consequence the conflict between the President Archbishop Makarios III and Georgios Grivas, the two former leaders of EOKA 1955-59 (see category EOKA 1955-59).
In 1967, when a military junta came into power in Greece, Archbishop Makarios III gradually abandoned énosis as a goal of his administration and adopted the “desirable” and “possible” political line. His policy change was regarded as betrayal of the nation’s ideals and caused political instability in Cyprus between the years 1969 and 1974.
Two paramilitary groups, the National Front (1969-1970) and the new EOKA, EOKA B’, became active. EOKA B’ was formed in 1971 under the leadership of General Grivas and recruited its members from all over Cyprus, mainly from the military and among the youth. Its actions in the next three years lists bomb attacks and killings which culminated in 1972 when Grivas asked for Makarios’ III resignation and for the formation of a new government with énosis as the main goal.
Although General Grivas died in January 1974, the conflict between the supporters of the two men led to the coup against Makarios III on July 15th 1974. That action ignited the Turkish invasion and the division of the island. Makarios III survived, left the island and returned on December 7th 1974.
July 15th was officially recognized as a national commemorative day against the Makarios III coup by the Parliament of the Republic of Cyprus on February 16th 2001 (article 24(1)/2001).