Manolis Bikakis: The Greek “Rambo” against the Turkish invasion of Cyprus (1974)

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Manolis Bikakis was a member of the 1st Commando Squadron who fought during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

The Illegal Turkish Invasion

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was a significant event in the history of the island and the broader region. The conflict arose from tensions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, that Turkey used to launch an illegal military invasion of the island, citing the need to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution.

Manolis Bikakis: The Greek Rambo of the 1974 Cyprus Conflict
By Imágen tomada por el autor, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=783529

The conflict led to the occupation of the northern third of Cyprus by Turkish forces, resulting in the displacement of thousands of people. Greek Cypriots were forced to flee the north, while Turkish Cypriots were forced to flee the south. The war was marked by intense fighting, including battles in the cities of Nicosia and Famagusta.

Despite numerous attempts at a peace settlement, the conflict has yet to be fully resolved. The United Nations established a peacekeeping force in Cyprus to maintain the ceasefire and support the reunification of the island.

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus has had a profound impact on the island and its people. During the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, numerous atrocities were committed by Turkish forces, including massacres of civilians, rapes, and forced displacement.

Manolis Bikakis: The Greek “Rambo”

Manolis Bikakis: The Greek Rambo of the 1974 Cyprus Conflict

Manolis Bikakis was born in 1954 on the Greek island of Crete and became known for his bravery and heroism during the conflict. His actions earned him posthumous honors from both the Hellenic Army and the Greek Defense Ministry.

During the conflict, Bikakis participated in covert special forces Operation Niki (which means “Victory” in Greek), which was intended to strengthen the defenses of Nicosia airport. In a battle, Bikakis became separated from the rest of his squad and was cut off from their support. Despite this, he continued to defend his position against the invading Turkish army.

For four days, he fought alone and destroyed six M48A2 battle tanks with his M67 anti-tank weapon. He also fired his last two rounds at a building where Turkish troops had taken cover, likely killing most of them. His actions held up an entire Turkish battalion, making him known as the “Greek Rambo.”

Manolis Bikakis: The Greek Rambo of the 1974 Cyprus Conflict

Bikakis fought the Turks in the area of Agios Dometios, to the west of Nicosia. His heroic actions helped to prevent the occupation of the Agios Dometios suburb, which could have led to the encirclement of the Cypriot capital of Nicosia and the capture of the airport.

After completing his military service, he worked as a builder. Tragically, he was killed in a car accident on the Athens-Patras highway in October 1994. He was survived by his wife and two children.

Bikakis’ heroism during the Cyprus conflict has made him a symbol of Greek Military history. His bravery in the face of overwhelming odds and his unwavering commitment to his mission have earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow soldiers and the Greek people.

In recognition of his actions, Bikakis was awarded posthumous honors by the Hellenic Army and the Greek Defense Ministry. These honors serve as a testament to his bravery and heroism during the conflict and his dedication to the Greek military.

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