Cyprus is a bi-national community of Greeks and Turks, where Greeks are the majority and the ruling government. When Cyprus was declared independent from Great Britian in 1960, other national symbols such as the flag were enshrined in the new nation’s constitution, but there was no mention of an anthem. Much debates ensued, and neither community could agree on a national anthem; during foreign state visits, different instrumental marches were used. On November 16, 1966, it was unilaterally decided by the Greek members of government (the Turkish members had already boycotted the government by this point) that the Greek anthem would be used by Cyprus as well. (The Turkish community does not recognize this and instead uses the Turkish anthem for their self-proclaimed nation.)

In 2004, as a requirement of joining the European Union, a peace plan was proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which included different national symbols, to make them more inclusive of both communities. This also included a wordless anthem that was agreed to by both Turkish and Greek members of the national symbols committee. However, the plan was rejected by the voters and the Greek “Ode to Freedom” remains the Cypriot national anthem.

Special thanks to: Theo Stylianides for the sheet music and to Ben Cahoon for some of this information.

See also: Greece.