What has happened to Turkish Cypriot property in the south?

Ruined home at Kios in south Cyprus

Ruined home at Kios in south Cyprus

A few years ago the Turkish Cypriot News Agency (TAK) organised visits to former Turkish villages in the south. TAK correspondent Hasan Karaokçu recorded the observations and feelings of the Turkish Cypriots who took the opportunity to visit their former villages. So much has been said about GC property in the north that perhaps it is time to remind people about what has happened to TC property in the south where whole villages appear to have been erased. The rest of this article consists of selected translations of these observations.

Turkish name of village : SAKARYA
Old name of village : KUKLA
Present name of village in the map: KOUKLIA
Population according to 1960 census: TC: 419, GC:622

“Many Turkish houses in the village of Sakarya were destroyed and razed to the ground. In 1974, Greek Cypriots settled in the Turkish houses, which were in very good condition, but today these houses are in ruins since no repairs have been carried out. House belonging to Nazım CEVDET, was demolished. At Turkish house, which was in very good condition and belonged to Hasan MUHARREM before 1974, now, Greek Cypriots are living and it is in very bad condition.”

“Turkish houses belonging to Osman TOSUN and Ramadan ALİ FUNDO were demolished and turned into a car park. Surrounding houses are also neglected Turkish houses. In the empty field seen at the villages square, before 1974 there used to be houses belonging to Ahmet TÜCCAR and Mehmet Salih EMİN but now they are all razed to the ground.”


Turkish name of village : YOLÜSTÜ
Old name of village : KOLONİ
Present name of village in the map: KOLONİ
Population according to 1960 census: TC: 101 GC: 0

“Many of the Turkish houses in the village of Yolüstü (Koloni) were demolished and razed to the ground. Houses which were in very good condition in 1974, today, are in very bad condition because no repairs have been carried out. Turkish school in Yolüstü village is in extremely bad condition. The cemetery in the village of Yolüstü has been completely destroyed and no longer exists. Turkish houses in the village of Yolüstü are in ruins and are being used as stables. Greek Cypriots who tried to eliminate the Turkish existence in the village, first destroyed and razed to the ground the Turkish cemetery.”

Mehmet Güçlü

“It has been 15 days since I visited my village Instinco (Tabanlı) in South Cyprus. I was so badly affected by the ruins I saw there that, I have still not recovered and because I cannot forget this dreadful sight.”

“It is difficult to explain the raid that was carried out in my village, but I should try to explain because I promised. Hundreds of walnut trees which were grown by our grandfathers or by our generation were all cut and taken away. Now you can’t even find their traces. Of course, the Greek Cypriots benefited from the timbers of the walnut trees, which are quite expensive. They used these timbers both for carving and making furniture. This was a short way for the Greek Cypriots to make a profit.”

“Whereas, would it have been so bad for them to benefit from the fruits of those trees and for those trees to still be here today? The walnut tree is the king of all trees and can live more than a hundred year. For a walnut tree to be productive it must be at least 20 years old.”

“The 25 year old walnut trees in our village were cut down, when they were in their most productive stages and about to bear fruit and all the other plum, almond, citrus and olive trees, which generated huge incomes, dried and died from neglect. The Greek Cypriots did all this intentionally, so that the Turks would not want to return to their former places.”

“A building can be built in three months or even much earlier, but you need years to grow a tree. In order to bear fruit a tree should be carefully looked after for years and the Greek Cypriots, who cut down our trees in their most productive period, did the worst harm to us.”

Human Rights Archeology

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