Nikos Sampson
Nikos Sampson was the de facto president of Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 who succeeded Archbishop Makarios
Makarios III
Makarios III , born Andreas Christodolou Mouskos , was the archbishop and primate of the autocephalous Cypriot Orthodox Church and the first President of the Republic of Cyprus ....

, President of Cyprus, in 1974. Sampson was a journalist and a member of EOKA
EOKA was an anticolonial, antiimperialist nationalist organisation with the ultimate goal of "The liberation of Cyprus from the British yoke". Although not stated in its initial declaration of existence which was printed and distributed on the 1st of April 1955, EOKA also had a target of achieving...

, which rose against the British colonial administration, seeking Enosis
Enosis refers to the movement of the Greek-Cypriot population to incorporate the island of Cyprus into Greece.Similar movements had previously developed in other regions with ethnic Greek majorities such as the Ionian Islands, Crete and the Dodecanese. These regions were eventually incorporated...

 (Union) of the island of Cyprus with Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. After Cyprus's eventual independence (instead of Enosis), in 1960, and the formation of the Republic of Cyprus, he entered politics, becoming a member of Parliament. Following the coup of 1974 by the Greek Junta, he was appointed President, and remained in the position for eight days. Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus
Turkish invasion of Cyprus
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, launched on 20 July 1974, was a Turkish military invasion in response to a Greek military junta backed coup in Cyprus...

 on July 20th he resigned. He was later sentenced to twenty years in prison for abuse of power
Abuse of Power
Abuse of Power is a novel written by radio talk show host Michael Savage.- Plot :Jack Hatfield is a hardened former war correspondent who rose to national prominence for his insightful, provocative commentary...

, the only person convicted vis-à-vis the coup, maintaining there had been a setup and cover up, an assertion which to this date has not been corroborated or dismissed. He served most of his sentence in France due to poor health, where he had gone for medical treatment. He returned to Cyprus in 1990, and was pardoned the remainder of his sentence in 1993. He died of cancer in 2001.

The EOKA period

Sampson was born in the Cypriot port city of Famagusta
Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus and is capital of the Famagusta District. It is located east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour of the island.-Name:...

 to Sampson Georgiadis and Theano Liasidou. During his teenage years, he was a promising right back in the second team of Anorthosis Famagusta football club. He began his working life at a Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

 newspaper, The Times of Cyprus, which was owned by Charles Foley. His original name was Nikos Georgiadis, but he adopted his father's forename as his (public) surname, a common custom in Cyprus in those days.It helped to distinguish him from others who bore his surname (Georgiades). During the EOKA
EOKA was an anticolonial, antiimperialist nationalist organisation with the ultimate goal of "The liberation of Cyprus from the British yoke". Although not stated in its initial declaration of existence which was printed and distributed on the 1st of April 1955, EOKA also had a target of achieving...

 resistance campaign against British rule in Cyprus, waged from 1955 to 1959, he adopted the nom de guerre Atrotos , or Invulnerable.

In Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, the 1950s were marked by a rise in nationalistic fervour. Since its inception in 1955, the EOKA organisation actively recruited young patriots during the period of its struggle. Joining EOKA, the young Sampson became known to the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 as one of EOKA's most feared resistance fighters. He participated in a number of killings carried out along Ledra Street, including three police sergeants, for one of which Sampson was tried in May 1957. He confessed but was acquitted on the grounds that his confession may have been coerced by torture. By March 1959, when the shooting ended, 509 people had died, of whom 156 were British soldiers and police.

The British, fearing a pan-Cypriot anti-colonial revolt, increasingly employed Turkish Cypriots in government offices, especially, in the police force. This put Greeks and Turks into direct confrontation with one another. Some of the casualties during EOKA's struggle against British rule would be these Turkish Cypriots. Turkish reprisals, organised by the TMT
TMT may refer to:* Tandem mass tag, a label used for quantitative mass spectrometry–based proteomics* Tarsometatarsal articulations* Technology, Media, Telecommunications – an investment sector, e.g., late-1990s TMT bubble...

, were carried out in the form of riots and attacks on Greek homes and businesses. Mistrust and resentment was on the ascendancy. Around this time, Turkey shifted its strategic goal for Cyprus from annexation (union with Turkey) to the pursuit of partition.

At the time, Sampson was working as a journalist and he used to photograph dead bodies to be published in the newspaper he was working for. The police became suspicious about how Sampson was always the first reporter to arrive at the murder scene and he was arrested. Only a month after his acquittal, he was given away by informants and arrested in the village of Dhali. He was convicted of weapons possession which, under the emergency regulations of the moment, carried a death sentence. The death sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment and Sampson was flown to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to serve it. A year and a half later, under a general amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 as part of the 1959 Zürich and London Agreement
Zürich and London Agreement
The Zürich and London Agreement for the constitution of Cyprus started with an agreement on the 19 February 1959 in Lancaster House in London, between Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom and Cypriot community leaders...

, he was released but he remained in exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

 in Greece until Cyprus gained formal independence in August 1960. He returned to Nicosia shortly after Independence Day
Independence Day
An Independence Day is an annual event commemorating the anniversary of a nation's assumption of independent statehood, usually after ceasing to be a colony or part of another nation or state, and more rarely after the end of a military occupation...

, receiving a hero's welcome.

The 1960s

Sampson returned to newspaper publishing. In 1960 he set up the newspaper Makhi
Makhi is a Greek-language Cypriot daily newspaper with close affiliation to radical right-wing and nationalist ideas. It was founded in 1960 by journalist and former EOKA gunman Nikos Sampson, as the voice of his "Progressive Front", a nationalist party....

, meaning battle, or struggle, which was one of the first Greek newspapers in circulation in the nation of Cyprus. In 1961, in a series of newspaper articles, he admitted his responsibility for the death of the police officers in 1956 during the resistance campaign against British rule. According to the Telegraph, as a journalist, he flew to Algeria to interview Ben Bella and to Washington to talk to U.S. President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....


Following an explosion to the statue of EOKA hero Markos Drakos
Markos Drakos
Markos Drakos was a Cypriot guerrilla fighter who was killed in the EOKA struggle against the British. His nom de guerre was Lykourgos....

 in Nicosia, Sampson actively participated in clashes between the Greek and Turkish communities in December 1963. On the morning of 24 December, the clashes in Nicosia spread and fighting continued into the subsequent year. The fiercest fighting took place in Constantia, Neapolis, Ledra Palace
Ledra Palace
The Ledra Palace Hotel is located in central Nicosia, Cyprus, and until 1974 was one of the largest and most glamorous hotels of the capital. The Hotel was built in 1949 and had a de luxe rating. All rooms had hot and cold water, central heating and a telephone. Facilities included a conference,...

 and, especially, the suburb of Omorphita (Kucuk Kaymakli) which had a majority Turkish Cypriot population. In Omorfita, Sampson led armed groups in fierce battles between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot irregulars after the Greek Cypriot families living in the suburb came under heavy fire from Turkish Cypriot militias who were aiming at bringing the whole suburb under Turkish Cypriot control. According to American sources there were 17 dead, most of them Turkish Cypriots, and 70 wounded. Because of the fight in Omorphita, Nikos Sampson was nicknamed by the Turkish Cypriots as the "Butcher of Omorphita". In total, it is estimated that the whole intercommunal war cost the lives of about 350 Turkish Cypriot and 200 Greek Cypriot. The result of these clashes was the departure of the Turkish Cypriots from government and the segregation of the Turkish Cypriot community into enclaves. The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 responded by dispatching a peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

 force to Cyprus. The precise nature of the role of these troops, mostly British troops, has been the subject of some controversy.
In 1967, a military Junta came to power in Greece. That same year, a further outbreak of intercommunal violence in Cyprus nearly precipitated war between Greece and Turkey but the situation was stabilized by a mutual reduction of their armed contingents on the island.

The 1974 coup

In 1970 Sampson became a member of the Parliament of Cyprus as a founder and leader of one of the main parties of Cyprus, the Progressive Party (Proodeftikoi). In a poll, Sampson's Party was voted second most popular in Famagusta
Famagusta is a city on the east coast of Cyprus and is capital of the Famagusta District. It is located east of Nicosia, and possesses the deepest harbour of the island.-Name:...

 district and fourth overall. In 1971, EOKA head George Grivas
George Grivas
Georgios Grivas , also known by his nom de guerre Digenis , which he adopted while in EOKA, was a Cyprus-born general in the Greek Army, leader of the EOKA guerrilla organization and EOKA B paramilitary organisation.-Early life:Georgios Grivas was born on July 5, 1898 in Trikomo, Famagusta...

 returned to Cyprus and gave the campaign for enosis further momentum, forming EOKA B
EOKA-B was a Greek Cypriot paramilitary organisation formed in 1971. It followed a right-wing nationalistic ideology and had the ultimate goal of achieving the enosis of Cyprus with Greece...

 whose goal was enosis. To the dismay of President Makarios, who advocated independence, the government, police and military forces quickly became infiltrated with supporters of EOKA-B. Following the death of Grivas in January 1974, the Greek military junta of 1967-1974
Greek military junta of 1967-1974
The Greek military junta of 1967–1974, alternatively "The Regime of the Colonels" , or in Greece "The Junta", and "The Seven Years" are terms used to refer to a series of right-wing military governments that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974...

 gave active support to EOKA-B. Nikos Sampson maintained a strong nationalist, pro-Greek position throughout these years, earning himself positive and negative feedback at the same time and marking himself as a figure of controversy.

Interim President of Cyprus

On July 15, 1974, Makarios was deposed by a military coup which was led by Greek officers of the Cyprus National Guard and Sampson succeeded him as Cyprus' second President. The Greek military junta installed Sampson as President, having picked him from a list of "several candidates". His regime had gathered and detained more than a thousand Makarios supporters. His claim to the presidency was that he allegedly had the ability to avert civil war through his influence of key people in the rising, conflicting factions.

Resignation and aftermath of coup

Turkey had signed up to the 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, as one of three Guarantor powers, which committed her to defend the sovereignty and territory of the Republic. But Sampson's government, which was illegal under the constitution of Cyprus, and international law, failed to gain international recognition. Fighting was rife between the Makarios backers and Sampson's followers, with an estimated 1,000 Greek militia being killed within 5 days of the chaos that followed the invasion by the Greek junta. With 60,000 Turkish Cypriots holed up in enclaves across the island (Famagusta, Limmasol, Larnaca, Polis) Turkey launched the Attila Plan, a military invasion of the Republic. The Turkish forces were largely contained for a while on the northern coast as part of phase 1, whilst international negotiations with Britain (the other civilian guarantor government) and the UN were conducted to reach an agreement on how to protect the Turkish Cypriots from the openly racist puppet "government". The fragile Athens-based junta, divided and increasingly unpopular in Greece, was unable to intervene and key arms supplies disappeared from Cyprus' own military bases. As a result of the crisis, the Greek junta collapsed and, only eight days after his appointment, Sampson was forced to resign. The Greek Cypriot government was restored under Glafkos Clerides. After several weeks of political wrangling, On 14th August Turkey continued its advance and took control of more than a third of the island. The EOKA B guerilla fighters and the Cypriot National guard were divided in their objectives of holding back the initial Turkish invasion, and carrying out atrocities against Turkish Cypriots. Thousands were reported either dead or missing, the majority of them Greek Cypriot. Following the resumption of fighting on 14th August Some of The villagers of Murataga and Sandallar villages were massacred
Maratha, Santalaris and Aloda massacre
Maratha, Santalaris and Aloda massacre , refers to the massacre of Turkish Cypriots by EOKA B on 14 August 1974 in the villages of Maratha, Santalaris and Aloda. 89 people from Maratha and Santalaris were killed, and a further 37 people were killed in the village of Aloda...

 with 90 elderly, women and children being buried in mass graves.Sampson was pardoned for his role after the coup by the re-installed Makarios, but the pardon was then repealed.

Imprisonment and later years

The invasion lost Sampson much of his popular appeal. He claimed not to have anticipated the impending coup that had installed him, adding that, after military officers had insisted, he "saw the possibility of civil war and accepted" in order to prevent the clashes.
Nonetheless, Sampson was prosecuted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for abuse of power
Abuse of Power
Abuse of Power is a novel written by radio talk show host Michael Savage.- Plot :Jack Hatfield is a hardened former war correspondent who rose to national prominence for his insightful, provocative commentary...

 (nosfisi eksousias) in 1976.

In 1979, only three years into his prison sentence, he was allowed to go to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 on medical grounds. Living in Neuilly, and then in Fourqueux
Fourqueux is a commune in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France in north-central France. It is a small suburb west of Paris.It is known for having a diverse community, due to the Lycée International being located in the neighboring town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.-External links:*...

, he was supported by funds of friends. He spent much of his time between Paris and Marseilles before returning to Cyprus in June 1990 to complete his sentence.

Following his release from Nicosia Central Prison in 1993, he went back to the newspaper publishing business. He remarked in an interview that others who had been involved in the struggles later went on to take up respectable positions in government while he had been singled out for blame but had remained silent for the sake of the people. Having evaded a number of attempts on his life, both in Cyprus and in France, he finally succumbed to cancer following a protracted bout. On May 10, 2001, he died in Nicosia.

He is survived by his wife and two children, one of whom is a lawyer and the other a journalist.
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