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Karavostasi is the name of what began as a port adjacent to the village of Xeros on the south shore of the Morphou/Güzelyurt bay. It is located eighteen kilometers southwest of the town of Morphou/Güzelyurt, and two and a half kilometers northwest of Lefka/Lefke. Xeros, meaning “dried” in Greek, was usually used for the whole area including the Karavostasi port which means “an anchorage for sailing vessels.” Turkish Cypriots adopted the alternative name Gemikonağı in 1959, also meaning “an anchorage for sailing vessels.”
There were not many people living in the village before the Lefka/Lefke mines began operating. As you can see from the chart above, a very significant increase was recorded first in 1931 and then in 1946. During this time the small, humble port of Karavostasi was transformed into an important center for the processing and exporting of Cypriot copper and asbestos. The village was always populated by both communities. Many people from different parts of the island came to Karavostasi to work at the Cyprus Mines Cooperation. During the emergency years of 1955-1959, there was a significant drop in the population of the village.
All the Turkish inhabitants of Karavostasi/Gemikonağı were displaced in late 1963 and early 1964. According to Richard Patrick, the first evacuation in the Lefka region took place at Karavostasi and Xeros at the end of December 1963. Some Greek Cypriot irregulars forced a number of Turkish Cypriots to leave at gun point. Patrick claims that this harassment was probably in retribution for the evacuation of hundreds of Greek Cypriots from Lefka/Lefke(060) and Ambelikou/Bağlıköy(016) in 1958 during the EOKA campaign. However, many more left following the freedom of movement agreement in January 1964. This second refugee movement was mainly into Lefka/Lefke(060) and the nearby villages of Angolemi/Taşpınar(018), Elia/Doğancı(029), Ambelikou/Bağlıköy(016) and Kazivera/Gaziveren(049). Some even went as far as Kampyli/Hisarköy(224). All the Turkish Cypriots of Karavostasi/Gemikonağı remained in the villages where they sought refuge until 1974 when they were resettled back to the village or in different parts of north Cyprus.
All the Greek Cypriots from this village were displaced in August 1974, as they fled from the advancing Turkish army. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Karavostasi/Gemikonağı are scattered throughout the island’s south, with large pockets in towns. The number of the Karavostasi Greek Cypriots who were displaced in 1974 was around 300-310 (305 in 1973).
Currently the village is mainly inhabited by its original Turkish Cypriot inhabitants and displaced Turkish Cypriots, from the Tylliria region, from villages such as Amadies/Günebakan (015). Since the establishment of Lefke University, there are also many students in Karavostasi.
Books and Reports:
Colonial Office (1893), “Cyprus: Report on the census of Cyprus, taken 6th April 1891,” Mediterranean, No. 39. London: Colonial Office.
Department of Statitstics and Research, 1997. Estimates of Turkish Cypriots and Settlers from Turkey, Ministry of Finance [Republic of Cyprus], Nicosia.
- Fehmi, Hasan (2003), “Güney’de Kalan Değerlerimiz,” Lefkoşa (Nicosia): Özyay Matbaacılık.
- Fellahoğlu, Esat (2010), “Ulusal Direnişte Baf Köyleri,” İstanbul: Bayrak Matbaacılık.
- Giray, Halil: KKTC Yerleşim Birimleri, Yürürlükteki ve Eski İsimler Listesi KKTC İskân Bakanlığı : KKTC Coğrafi İsimler Kataloğu : (Cilt – I and II), Lefkoşa.
- Goodwin, Jack C. (1984), “An Historical Toponymy of Cyprus (Forth edition),” Nicosia (copy number 6).
- Hart-Davis, C. H (1922), “Report and general abstracts of the census of 1921, taken on the 24th April, 1921,” London: Waterlow & Sons.
- Hart-Davis, C. H (1932), “Report of the Census of 1931,” Nicosia: Cyprus Government Printing Office.
- Hatay, Mete, (2005). “Beyond Numbers: An Inquiery into the Political Integration of the Turkish ‘Settlers’ in Northern Cyprus,” PRIO/Cyprus Centre Report 4/2005, Nicosia/Oslo, PRIO.
- Hill, Sir George, (1952). A History of Cyprus, Vol. IV., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Ioannides, Christos P., 1991. “In Turkey’s Image: The Transformation of Occupied Cyprus into a Turkish Province,” Aristide D. Caratzas, New York.
- KKTC Başbakanlık Devlet Planlama Örgütü Müsteşarlığı, “15 Aralık 1996 Genel Nüfus Sayımı Sonuçları (Özet), 26, November 1997,” Nicosia.
- Mavrogordato, Alexander (1901), “Report and general abstracts of the census of 1901, taken on the 1st April, 1901,” Nicosia: Government Printing Office.
- Mavrogordato, Alexander (1912), “Report and general abstracts of the census of 1911, taken on the 2nd April, 1911,” London: Waterlow & Sons.
- Menardos, Simos (2001), Τοπωνημικαι και Λαογραφικαι Μελεται (Topographical and Folkloric Studies), Nicosia: Centre for Scientific Studies
Perry, Frederic W., 1884. Report on the Census of Cyprus 1881, Eyre and Spottiswoode, London.
- Republic of Cyprus, 1961. “Census of Population and Agriculture, 1960: Volume I: Population by Location, Race, and Sex,” Nicosia
- TRNC 2006 census preliminary results can be found at: www.devplan.org
TRNC Prime Ministry State Planning Organisation Statistics and Research Department, Census of Population: Social and Economic Characteristics of Population, December 15, 1996, TRNC Prime Ministry, Nicosia, 1999.
- Standing Cypriot Commission for the Standardization of Geographical Names (2007), “Οδηγος Τυποποιησης Ονοματων (Guide to Standardized Names),” Nicosia: Ministry of Education and Culture.
- Ministry of Finance (1973), “Micro-Census (April 1973) Population by Village and Ethnic Group, Volume I.” Nicosia: Department of Statistics and Research.
- Özad, Murat Hüsnü (2002), “Baf ve Mücadele Yılları,” Lefkoşa (Nicosia): Akdeniz Haber Ajansı Yayınları.
- Patrick, Richard (1976), “Political Geography and the Cyprus Conflict: 1963-1971,” Department of Geography, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo.
- Percival, D.A. (1949), “Census of population and agriculture 1946 report,” Nicosia: Cyprus Government Printing Office.
- Republic of Cyprus (1962), “Census of population and agriculture, 1960,” Nicosia: Government Printing Office.
- Republic of Cyprus (1984), “Census of population 1982,” Nicosia: Department of Statistics and Research, Ministry of Finance.
- Republic of Cyprus (2003), “Census of population 2001,” Nicosia: Department of Statistics and Research, Ministry of Finance.
- St John-Jones, L. W., 1983. “The Population of Cyprus: Demographic Trends and Socio-Economic Influences” (with a foreword by W. H. Morris-Jones), Maurice Temple, Smith Limited, London.
- T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü (2000), “Osmanlı İdaresinde Kıbrıs (Nüfus-Arazi Dağılımı ve Türk Vakıfları),” Ankara: Osmanlı Arşivi Daire Başkanlığı Yayın No: 43.
- Yorgancıoğlu, Oğuz: Kıbrıs’ta Türkçe Yer Adları ve Veriliş Yöntemleri Üzerine Bir Araştırma Kıbrıs Araştırmaları Dergisi, Cilt : 2, Sayı : 3, Yıl : 96