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History, British Administration

Treaty of Lausanne, enosis, AKEL, Dardanelles, Central Powers

The move served as a warning to Russia that any attempt to expand toward the Dardanelles would conflict directly with British interest. Under the enabling convention, signed by the Ottoman Empire and Britain on June 4, 1878, the British received complete control of Cyprus for a rental of about $500,000 yearly, and the Ottoman Empire retained nominal title. When the British administrators assumed office in 1879, they were presented with a petition from the archbishop and the Greek community calling for enosis (Greek, “union”), that is, the political amalgamation of Cyprus and the kingdom of Greece. The petition was denied.

Because the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in World War I (1914-1918), Britain nullified the 1878 treaty in November 1914 and annexed Cyprus. The British government then offered Cyprus to Greece if Greece would agree to enter the war on the Allied side. Greece was given one week to decide, and when the decision was delayed, the British withdrew the offer.

By the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), a peace arrangement negotiated by the Turkish nationalist government that had effectively succeeded the Ottoman regime in what is now Turkey, the Turks formally recognized British possession of Cyprus. Two years later the island was made a crown colony.

In 1931 resentment over government measures resulted in serious riots. The British suppressed the riots, abolished the legislative council, and banned all political parties. Shortly after World War II ended in 1945, the enosis issue again began to create tension in Cyprus, and in 1946 the British proposed constitutional reforms leading to self-government on Cyprus.

Meanwhile a Communist-controlled Cypriot organization, the Progressive Party of Working People (Anorthotikon Komma Ergazomenou Laou, or AKEL), proclaimed full support of the enosis movement. The AKEL attracted a considerable following.

Article key phrases:

Treaty of Lausanne, enosis, AKEL, Dardanelles, Central Powers, crown colony, Greek community, legislative council, Ottoman Empire, kingdom of Greece, self-government, archbishop, treaty, resentment, political parties, World War, petition, Turks, British government, Cyprus, tension, Britain, Turkey, Russia, rental, Greece, island, warning, attempt, decision, union, office, week, offer, years, support, terms


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