Chinese ambassador slammed for praising Greek Cypriot terror group EOKA

Turkish Cypriots have criticised the Chinese ambassador to Cyprus for his “deeply offensive” comments about EOKA, a Greek Cypriot paramilitary organisation responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people.

Ambassador Huang Xingyuan took to Twitter yesterday, 1stApril, to praise EOKA on the 65th anniversary of the start of its murderous campaign, which killed over 450 British, Turkish and Greek Cypriot police officers and civilians.

The Chinese ambassador described the terror group’s actions as a “liberation struggle”, and claimed “EOKA showed the way for endurance, determination, national dignity and honour.”

His tweet prompted a furious response from Turkish Cypriots.

Singer-songwriter Japha Huse called it, “An absolute insult to Turkish Cypriots”, while Huseyin Gazi wrote, “EOKA was one of the terrorist organization that have killed many people in Cyprus. I condemn China’s ambassador’s unfortunate statements!”

Journalist Eltan Halil shared the ambassador’s message, and wrote: “Extraordinary tweet by China’s ambassador to Cyprus praising the 1950s “liberation struggle” of the EOKA terrorist organisation, which was also anti-communist. Foreign diplomats in Cyprus should really stay away from this kind of stuff. Deeply offensive to Turkish Cypriots.”

Turkish Cypriot human rights group Embargoed! tweeted: “The Chinese Ambassador to Cyprus clearly knows little about Cyprus history and understands it even less. Yet another example of the Chinese government having scant regard or understanding of  the world beyond its borders.”

Another person, Huriye Dervish, linked the Chinese ambassador’s contempt for Turkish Cypriot suffering with his government’s treatment of the Uyghur Turkish minority in China in her hard-hitting tweet:

“Not surprised you’re praising the tactics of EOKA in #Cyprus who completely disregarded the rights of Turkish Cypriots. Your Government is currently persecuting the entire Uyghur Muslim population by putting them in concentration camps in China. Despicable! #BoycottChina”

Sonya Karafistan, the Secretary of the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations of Britain, said:

“A diplomat should know better” and recommended Ambassador Xingyuan read The Genocide Files, a book by journalist Harry Scott Gibbons which documented the Cyprus Conflict.

About the Cyprus Emergency, 1955-1959

Formed in the early 1950s, the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) was a Greek Cypriot right-wing nationalist guerrilla organisation, which aimed to end British colonial rule and unite Cyprus and Greece (Enosis).

EOKA’s violent campaign for Enosis, supported by the Greek Cypriot Church, local political parties and the majority of the Greek Cypriot population on the island, was launched on 1 April 1955.

Special constable Bonici Mompalda, of Maltese origin, lays dead in the road after being shot by EOKA terrorists, as his fiance Drosoulla Demetriadou sits close by, Cyprus, 1956. Photo © Bob Egby


The insurgency brought EOKA not only into direct conflict with the British authorities on the island, but also Turkish Cypriots. By November 1955, the Governor General of Cyprus Sir John Harding was forced to declare a state of emergency to try to quell the violence.

To defend themselves and oppose Enosis, Turkish Cypriots formed the Turkish Resistance Organisation (TMT) and called for the partition of Cyprus.

EOKA’s insurgency led to the deaths of 457 Britons and Cypriots, while some 90 Greek Cypriot terrorists were killed in action, or were arrested, tried and hung for their crimes.

The Cyprus Emergency ended in 1959 with the signature of the London-Zürich Agreements, which established the Republic of Cyprus, an independent power-sharing state run jointly by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. This state of affairs only lasted for three years.