Hellenic Force in Cyprus

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Hellenic (Greek) Force in Cyprus
Ελληνική Δύναμη Κύπρου (ΕΛΔΥΚ)
Country Cyprus
Allegiance Kingdom of Greece (1959–1973)
 Greece (1973–present)
TypeMechanized Group
RoleMilitary Force
Sizec. 1000
Part ofHellenicArmySeal.svg Hellenic Army
Garrison/HQNicosia, Cyprus ("Camp of Major Sotirios Staurianakos")
  • ELDYK (Greek: ΕΛΔΥΚ)
  • Eldykarioi (Greek: Ελδυκάριοι)
Motto(s)Το όμαιμόν τε και ομόγλωσσον και ομόθρησκον και ομότροπον
(Greek: The same blood/ancestry and common language and common religion and common traditions)
Uniform CamouflageGreek Lizard
Service RifleG3
EngagementsTurkish invasion of Cyprus
WebsiteHellenic Army Official Website
Dionysios Arbouzis (first)
Nikolaos Nikolaidis
Patch of the formal uniformsELDYK patch formal.jpg
Patch of the everyday and combat uniforms
(low visibility)
Eldyk patch.jpg
AbbreviationΕΛΔΥΚ or ΕΛ.ΔΥ.Κ.

The Hellenic (Greek) Force in Cyprus (Greek: Ελληνική Δύναμη Κύπρου, Turkish: Kıbrıs Yunan Alayı), commonly known in its abbreviated form as ELDYK or EL.DY.K. (Greek: ΕΛΔΥΚ or ΕΛ.ΔΥ.Κ., Greek pronunciation: [elðˈik], Turkish: KYA, Turkish pronunciation: [kejea]) is the permanent, regiment-sized Greek military force stationed in the Republic of Cyprus. Its role is to help and support the Cypriot National Guard. Soldiers are selected from the ranks of conscripts doing their military service in the Greek army.


ELDYK was formed on November 20, 1959 at Agios Stefanos, Athens, soon after the Zürich and London Agreements established the independence of Cyprus. Per the subsequent Treaty of Guarantee, Greece, along with Turkey and the United Kingdom, would be the new state's guarantor powers. To that end, the permanent presence of a small military detachment from both Greece and Turkey was authorized, in addition to the British military presence in the Sovereign Base Areas. It was established as a tripartite headquarters of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. In this headquarters belonged the Hellenic Force in Cyprus with 950 men and the Turkish Force in Cyprus (Greek: Τουρκική Δύναμη Κύπρου, abbreviated: ΤΟΥΡΔΥΚ or ΤΟΥΡ.ΔΥ.Κ, Greek pronunciation: [turˈðik]) with 650 men, as it was agreed in the Zürich and London Agreement.

ELDYK in Cyprus (until 1962)[edit]

On August 16, 1960, the day that Cyprus became officially independent, ELDYK soldiers and officers disembarked at Famagusta from the Greek Landing Ship Tanks "LIMNOS" (Greek: "ΛΗΜΝΟΣ") and "ALIAKMON" (Greek: "ΑΛΙΑΚΜΩΝ"), the total force was 950 men. The first commander of ELDYK was Colonel Dionysios Arbouzis, a distinguished officer who had already led the Greek Expeditionary Force in Korea. Its camp were established west of Nicosia at the Gerolakkos or Yerolakkos area, next to the camp of the Turkish Force in Cyprus. The camp was destroyed during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus at 1974.

1963-1973 and Intercommunal violence (1963-1964)[edit]

In December 1963 serious riots and violence broke out between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the generalization of the conflict and the involvement of the Hellenic Force of Cyprus and Turkish Force of Cyprus was avoided thanks to the intervention of the United Kingdom.[1]

In January 1964, the Greek Cabinet rejected Turkey's call for an increase in the Greek and Turkish forces in Cyprus, and it decided to take the matter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.[2]

In March 1964, Sergeant First Class Sotirios Karagiannis was murdered during a new round of violence. In May 1964 Major Dimitrios Poulios and Captain Vasileios Kapotas were murdered in the Turkish Cypriot district of Famagusta, while Captain Panagiotis Tarsoulis was injured. Their driver, police officer Konstantinos Pantelidis was murdered too.[1] At the same period, members of ELDYK were involved in violent incidents against the Turks.[citation needed]

Turkish invasion of Cyprus (1974)[edit]

During the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, between 20 July and 16 August 1974, ELDYK fought against the Turkish forces in several battles. The commander of EDLYK, at that time, was Colonel Nikolaos Nikolaidis. Second in command were Lieutenant Colonel Konstantinos Papagiannis, during the first phase of invasion (20–23 July 1974) and until 9 August, and Colonel Panagiotis Stavroulopoulos, from 10 August and during all the second phase of the invasion (14–16 August 1974). Panagiotis Stavroulopoulos was deputy commander of the ELDYK till September of the same year. During the invasion, ELDYK's units were dispatches to various places in Cyprus in order to help the Cypriot National Guard. Along with ELDYK, Greece managed to involve an airborne battalion in fighting, raising the total number of Greek troops to 1500-2000 men.[citation needed] The Cypriot National Guard managed to mobilise only a fraction of its 10,000 force, while the total number of the Turkish invading force, was around 40,000.[3]


The most notable battles involving ELDYK forces at 1974, were:

Location of Turkish forces during the late hours of 20 July 1974. ELDYK contingents in blue.
  • The battle of Paphos (20 July 1974)
  • Attacks against the area of Kioneli (20–21 July 1974)
  • The battle of the ELDYK camp (22–23 July 1974)
  • The battle of Nicosia International Airport (23 July 1974)
  • The battle of Lapithos (6 August 1974)
  • The battle of Karavas (6 August 1974)
  • The battle of Vasilia Passage (7 August 1974)
  • The battle of the English College (14 August 1974)
  • The second battle of the ELDYK camp (14–16 August 1974)

A total of 105 men were lost (47 dead and 58 missing). Some of these men are buried in the Tomb of Makedonitissa.


The classes of ELDYK that fought in 1974 were the 103th, 105th and 107th.

Class 103 consisted of soldiers who were being discharged and were due to return to Greece on board the Greek Landing Ship Tank (ex-USS LST-389) "Lesvos" (Greek: "Λέσβος"). They departed Cyprus on 19 July 1974, after the arrival of their replacement class 107. When the invasion started on the 20th of July 1974, the Hellenic Navy ordered the commander of Lesvos (by then sailing off Rhodes), Lt Cdr Eleftherios Handrinos, to change course and return to Cyprus in order to disembark its troops. That same afternoon, the ship arrived at Paphos and class 103 disembarked. Soldiers from class 103 manned the ship's guns and for over two hours shelled the Turkish Cypriot forces in the area. The Turkish Cypriot forces surrendered to the Cypriot National Guard and their weapons and equipment were captured. Soon after, the men of class 103 moved during the night towards the Nicosia International Airport. In the morning, they arrived at the airport and from there they eventually reached the camp of ELDYK.

Class 107 was composed of new recruits who had come to replace class 103. They arrived at Cyprus on "Lesvos" at 19 July 1974, one day before the invasion. UNFICYP monitored the rotation of ELDYK's classes and they kept their HQ informed concerning the progress of the operation. After the Lesvos disembarkation, UNFICYP confirmed that she had brought 410 men and 11 vehicles from class 107, and taken out 422 men and 10 vehicles from class 103.


The equipment of ELDYK's men at that time were:

The Tomb of Makedonitissa[edit]

The Tomb of Makedonitissa (Greek: Τύμβος της Μακεδονίτισσας), is a military cemetery and war memorial, west of Nicosia, at Engomi in the area of Makedonitissa (35°09′15″N 33°18′29″E / 35.15417°N 33.30806°E / 35.15417; 33.30806). This was the place where one Greek Nord Noratlas was shot down by friendly fire on 22 July 1974, during the Operation Niki (Greek: Επιχείρηση "ΝΙΚΗ"). "Niki" was a military operation of the Greek Army to send some elements of the Greek special forces by air to help the Cypriot National Guard.

Greek Cypriot officers and soldiers (as well as some Greeks) who were killed during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus are buried in this tomb.

ELDYK Today[edit]

ELDYK is still in Cyprus and its headquarters is near Nicosia; its previous camp was destroyed in 1974 and the surrounding area (Gerolakkos or Yerolakkos area) is now under Turkish control. Its role is to support the Cypriot National Guard; for this reason, ELDYK regularly holds joint military exercises in cooperation with the Cypriot National Guard.


The ELDYK emblem shows the silhouettes of Greece and Cyprus crowned with a common laurel wreath. Between the two countries is the emblem of the Greek Army. Under the wreath is written "ΕΛΔΥΚ 1960", which is the abbreviation of the force in Greek ("ΕΛΔΥΚ") and the year it disembarked at Cyprus ("1960"). At the top is written the motto of ELDYK: "Το όμαιμόν τε και ομόγλωσσον και ομόθρησκον και ομότροπον". The two blue tints on the emblem represents the blue of the sky and the blue of the sea, symbolizing the same sea and sky surrounds these two countries.[4]


The motto of ELDYK is "Το όμαιμόν τε και ομόγλωσσον και ομόθρησκον και ομότροπον", which means: "The same ancestry and common language and common religion and common traditions".

This is an alteration of the work of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, who had written in the eighth book of Histories, entitled Urania, at 144: "...αύτις το ελληνικόν εόν όμαιμόν τε και ομόγλωσσον και θεών ιδρύματα κοινά και θυσίαι ήθεά τε ομότροπα...", which means: "...the Greek nation is from the same ancestry and have common language and common sanctuaries and common sacrifices and common traditions...".[4][5] The meaning is that Greeks share the same national identity and consciousness, regardless of borders.[4]


Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Dimitrios Droutsas, visiting the camp of ELDYK in 2010.

Soldiers and officers of the Hellenic Force in Cyprus (ELDYK) are all Greek citizens. Soldiers are selected among the ranks of conscripts who do their military service. Although some men volunteer for the unit, the core of the force is selected directly by the Greek Army General Staff on the basis of physical ability and skills.

After the completion of their basic training in Greece they are dispatched to Cyprus on planes, separated into two detachments totalling approximately 300 men: one detachment departs from Sparta and the other from the armored training camp of Avlon. Although not as demanding as the training received in units of the Special Forces, the training of ELDYK is considerably harder than the training received by ordinary infantrymen serving in Greece, making it one of the most battle ready units of the Greek Armed Forces. In compensation for serving abroad, the men of ELDYK are salaried and have access to better facilities.[6]

Men who are selected for ELDYK are nicknamed Eldykarioi (Greek: Ελδυκάριοι), singular: Eldykarios (Greek: Ελδυκάριος). This nickname stays with them long after they return to Greece. When their service at Cyprus is completed and they are about to return to Greece to continue their service there, the army awards them with special honors for their service at Cyprus.

Military ranks scale and ranks insignia[edit]

ELDYK follows the Greek's army ranks scale and insignia (Officers ranks and ranks insignia, Non-commissioned officers and soldiers ranks and ranks insignia), which has the NATO standard ranks scale.


Patch of the formal uniforms

There are 2 types of military uniforms, one formal for parades, celebrations, and other special occasions (like the Army Service Uniform-ASU), and the everyday combat uniform (like the Army Combat Uniform-ACU). The uniforms are the same as in the Greek army, with the difference of embroidered patches on both shoulders (shoulder sleeve insignia), which have black letters that form the word: "ΕΛΔΥΚ" (ΕΛΔΥΚ is the abbreviation of the force in Greek).

The patches are dark green (low visibility patches) in the combat military uniforms, and yellow in the formal uniforms. Unofficially, these patches are called: eldykosima (Greek: ελδυκόσημα), singular: eldykosimo (Greek: ελδυκόσημο), which means: "the badge of ELDYK". The uniform camouflage pattern is the Greek Lizard.


Personnel of ELDYK are using Greek's army equipment. The service rifles of ELDYK soldiers are some variants of G3.

Headquarters Camp[edit]

The headquarters camp is near Nicosia. Its name is "Camp of Major Sotirios Staurianakos". The camp is named in honor of the Captain Sotirios Staurianakos, who was killed at 16 August 1974 during the last day of the battle of the ELDYK camp. He was posthumously promoted to Major after his death.[7] In the camp, there is a memorial representing a soldier who gestures with his hand towards the area of the previous camp of ELDYK (destroyed during the Turkish invasion at 1974) and has inscribed on a marble slab the names and the ranks of the officers and soldiers of the force who were killed or are missing.


The museum of ELDYK is at its headquarters camp. Because the museum is located in a military area under the control of the army, permission from the army must be granted in order to visit.

In popular culture[edit]

In Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, the character Kure Galanos is the daughter of an ex-ELDYK sharpshooter.

In Limassol, a road is named "Machiton ELDYK" (Greek: Μαχητών ΕΛΔΥΚ) (34°42′28″N 33°3′16″E / 34.70778°N 33.05444°E / 34.70778; 33.05444), which means "Warriors of ELDYK".[8]

Additional information[edit]

In 2010, a commemorative event was held at Strovolos, Nicosia in order to celebrate the 50 years of ELDYK's presence in Cyprus.

The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, has a weekly 1-hour radio show, dedicated to ELDYK.

Monuments and memorials[edit]


Name of the Memorial/ Monument Area Coordinates
ELDYK's HQ camp Memorial Nicosia 35°01′53″N 33°10′58″E / 35.03139°N 33.18278°E / 35.03139; 33.18278 (military area)
The Tomb of Makedonitissa Nicosia 35°09′15″N 33°18′29″E / 35.15417°N 33.30806°E / 35.15417; 33.30806
ELDYK Memorial Park Larnaka 34°53′38″N 33°37′57″E / 34.89389°N 33.63250°E / 34.89389; 33.63250


( * ) The word "Cyprus" is engraved on the tomb in order to honor the men who were killed in Cyprus.

Name of the Memorial/ Monument Area Coordinates
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier * Syntagma Square in Athens 37°58′31″N 23°44′10″E / 37.97528°N 23.73611°E / 37.97528; 23.73611
Memorial for the men who killed at Cyprus Athens 37°58′45″N 23°43′00″E / 37.979180°N 23.716647°E / 37.979180; 23.716647
ELDYK Memorial Peristeri 38°00′47″N 23°40′56″E / 38.013054°N 23.682172°E / 38.013054; 23.682172
ELDYK Memorial Lamia 38°53′38″N 22°26′45″E / 38.89378°N 22.44571°E / 38.89378; 22.44571
ELDYK Memorial Spathari Village 38°45′40.68″N 23°25′12.07″E / 38.7613000°N 23.4200194°E / 38.7613000; 23.4200194


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "A brief history of ELDYK from Greek Army" (PDF). Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  2. ^ Greeks Reject Turkish Bid
  3. ^ Μακάριος Δρουσιώτης, "Επιστράτευση στην Κύπρο" στο Βαγγέλης Παναγόπουλος(ed.) Κύπρος 1974: Τα Παρασκήνια της τουρκικής Εισβολής, Ε-Ιστορικά 17 Ιουλίου 2003, σ.27.
  4. ^ a b c "Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού - Τελετή Επίδοσης Λαβάρου στην ΕΛΔΥΚ". www.army.gr. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  5. ^ Herodotus Book 8: Urania, 144 "...there is the bond of Hellenic race, by which we are of one blood and of one speech, the common temples of the gods and the common sacrifices, the manners of life which are the same for all;..."
  6. ^ "Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού - Συνθήκες διαβίωσης στην ΕΛΔΥΚ". www.army.gr. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Γενικό Επιτελείο Στρατού - Αντγος Σταυριανάκος Σωτήριος". www.army.gr. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Machiton ELDYK". cy.geoview.info. Retrieved 21 July 2017.

Further reading[edit]

In Greek[edit]

About ELDYK[edit]

  • Παπαγεωργίου, Σπύρος (2000). Πεθαίνοντας στην Κύπρο [Dying in Cyprus] (3rd ed.). Nicosia: Επιφανίου. ISBN 9963-576-74-5.
  • Βλάσσης, Σάββας Δ. (2004). Άγνωστοι Στρατιώτες [Unknown Soldiers]. Athens: ΔΟΥΡΕΙΟΣ ΙΠΠΟΣ. ISBN 960-88355-1-8.
  • "ΣΤΡΑΤΟΠΕΔΟ ΕΛΔΥΚ 1974 Οι Θερμοπύλες της Κύπρου" [The Camp of ELDYK 1974 The Thermopylae of Cyprus]. Στρατιωτική Ιστορία. 95. July 2004.
  • Καρκαλέτσης, Σταύρος Γ. (2008). Η μάχη της Κύπρου Οι προδομένοι ήρωες αντιμετωπίζουν τον "Αττίλα" [The battle of Cyprus The betrayed heroes face "Attila"]. Athens: Περισκόπιο. ISBN 978-960-87242-5-9.
  • Βλάσσης, Σάββας Δ. (2009). Άγνωστοι Στρατιώτες 2 [Unknown Soldiers 2]. Athens: ΔΟΥΡΕΙΟΣ ΙΠΠΟΣ. ISBN 978-960-88355-6-6.
  • Χρυσάφης, Αθανάσιος Γρ. (2009). Οι άγνωστοι στρατιώτες της ΕΛΔΥΚ 1974 Οι τελευταίοι ήρωες, οι εφιάλτες των Αθηνών και η προδοσία της Κύπρου [The unknown soldiers of ELDYK 1974 The last heroes, the nightmares of Athens and the betrayal of Cyprus]. Thessaloniki: Χρυσάφης, Αθανάσιος Γρ. ISBN 978-960-93-1819-8.
  • Δελλής, Σπυρίδων (2012). Η αυτοθυσία της Ελληνικής Δύναμης Κύπρου (ΕΛΔΥΚ) Μία μαρτυρία [The self-sacrifice of the Greek Force in Cyprus (ELDYK) A witness]. Athens: Παπαζήση. ISBN 978-960-02-2694-2.

About the Turkish invasion of Cyprus[edit]

  • Καρδιανός, Διονύσιος (1976). Ο Αττίλας πλήττει την Κύπρο [Attila hits Cyprus]. Athens: Λαδιάς.
  • Birand, Mehmet Ali (1984). Απόφαση-Απόβαση [Decision-Landing]. Athens: Στρατηγικές Εκδόσεις-Φλώρος. ISBN 978-960-8094-37-6.
  • Χαραλαμπόπουλος, Χαράλαμπος (1992). Περιμένοντας τον Αττίλα [Waiting Attila]. Athens: Εστία. ISBN 960-05-0387-7.
  • Ιορδανίδου, Σοφία (1998). Νταλγκά νταλγκά Κύματα κύματα: Η μαρτυρία ενός τούρκου αξιωματικού για τη δεύτερη εισβολή στην Κύπρο [Dalga dalga Waves Waves: The testimony of a Turkish officer for the second invasion in Cyprus]. Athens: Α. Α. ΛΙΒΑΝΗ. ISBN 9789602369678.
  • Σέργης, Γεώργιος (1999). Η μάχη της Κύπρου Ιούλιος - Αύγουστος 1974 Η ανατομία της τραγωδίας [The battle of Cyprus July-August 1974 The anatomy of the tragedy]. Athens: Αδελφοί Βλάσση. ISBN 960-302-049-4.
  • Γεωργιάδης, Σταύρος (2001). Η Κύπρος δεν Εάλω Προδόθηκε και παραδόθηκε στους Τούρκους από ...Έλληνες [Cyprus didn't capture Betrayed and handed over to the Turks by ...Greeks]. Thessaloniki: Κάδμος. ISBN 960-8184-14-2.
  • Καρδιανός, Διονύσιος (2003). Ο Αττίλας πλήττει την Κύπρο [Attila hits Cyprus] (3rd ed.). Nicosia: Επιφανίου. ISBN 9963646131.
  • Βλάσσης, Σάββας Δ. (2004). Ο Απόρρητος Αττίλας Το Σχέδιο Και Η Υλοποίηση Της Τουρκικής Εισβολής [The Confidential Attila The Plan and Implementation of the Turkish Invasion]. Athens: ΔΟΥΡΕΙΟΣ ΙΠΠΟΣ. ISBN 960-630-211-3.
  • Καρύκας, Παντελής Δ. (July–August 2006). "ΚΥΠΡΟΣ 1974 Η χαμένη νίκη του Ελληνισμού" [CYPRUS 1974 The lost victory of Hellenism]. Πόλεμος & Ιστορία. 97: 26–33.
  • Δημητριάδης, Κωνσταντίνος Α. (2011). Κύπρος 1974 Η μεγάλη προδοσία [Cyprus 1974 The great betrayal]. Athens: Πελασγός. ISBN 978-9605222819.
  • Αδαμίδης, Μάριος (2011). Η τραγική αναμέτρηση και η προδοσία της Κύπρου-Κύπρος 15-24 Ιουλίου 1974 [The Tragic Duel and the Betrayal of Cyprus-Cyprus 15-24 July 1974]. Athens: Αδαμίδης, Μάριος. ISBN 978-9963-9961-0-0.

In English[edit]

About Turkish invasion of Cyprus[edit]

  • O'Malley, Brendan; Craig, Ian (2001). The Cyprus Conspiracy: America, Espionage and the Turkish Invasion. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1860647376.
  • Adamides, Marios (2012). The Tragic Duel and the Betrayal of Cyprus-Cyprus 15-24 July 1974. Athens: Adamides, Marios. ISBN 978-9963996100.

External links[edit]


  • Αργύρης, Ντινόπουλος (1998). "ΕΛΔΥΚ 1974" [ELDYK 1974]. Στον δρόμο (On the road) (in Greek). Greece. ANT1.