The Hellenic (Greek) Force in Cyprus (Greek: Ελληνική Δύναμη Κύπρου), commonly known in its abbreviated form as ELDYK or EL.DY.K. (Greek: ΕΛΔΥΚ or ΕΛ.ΔΥ.Κ.,), is the permanent, regiment-sized Greek military force stationed in Cyprus. Its role is to help and support the Cypriot National Guard.
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, ) with 650 men, as it was agreed in the Zürich and London Agreement.
Turkish invasion of Cyprus (1974)
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 Lieutenant 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 batallion in fighting, raising the total number of Greek troops to 1500-2000 men. 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.
The most notable battles involving ELDYK forces at 1974, were:
- 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 at 1974 were 103, 105 and 107.
The class 103, were old soldiers that returned to Greece with the Greek Landing Ship Tank (ex-USS LST-389) "LESBOS" (Greek: "ΛΕΣΒΟΣ") because their military service ended. They left from Cyprus at 19 July 1974, after the arrival of the class 107. When the invasion started, on the 20th of July 1974, the Hellenic Navyordered the commander of the ship (by then sailing off Rhodes), Lieutenant Commander Eleftherios Chandrinos, to change course and return to Cyprus. That same afternoon, ELDYK's soldiers of class 103 arrived at Cyprus and disembarked at Paphos. They assisted the Cypriot National Guard in fighting the Turkish Cypriot forces in the area. The Turkish Cypriot forces surrendered 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.
The class 107, were the recruits that had come to replace class 103. They arrived at Cyprus with "Lesbos" at 19 July 1974, one day before the invasion. UNFICYPmonitored the rotation of the ELDYK's classes and they kept their HQ informed concerning the progress of the operation. After the Lesbos disembarkation, UNFICYP confirmed that she had brought 410 men and 11 vehicles (class 107) and taken out 422 men and 10 vehicles (class 103).
The equipment of ELDYK's men at that time were:
- FN FAL (Soldiers of the class 103 equipped with these weapons)
- Captured G3 rifles from Turkish troops.