|Click Here for Map
Lefka is a small town situated on the northern foothills of the Troodos mountains, four kilometers southwest of Xeros/Gemikonağı and overlooking Morphou/Güzelyurt bay. Goodwin claims that the name Lefka means “white” and derives from ancient Greek “lefkos.” Turkish Cypriots use a slightly altered spelling of the name, Lefke.
Until 1964, Lefka/Lefke was a mixed small town with a Turkish Cypriot majority. According to the 1831 Ottoman census, Muslims constituted 90% of Lefka’s population. This percentage slightly dropped to 80% in 1891, almost fifteen years after the British arrived. Throughout the twentieth century, the population growth of the village was quite steady, substantially increasing when the copper mines in nearby locations began to operate in 1921. These mine works attracted many workers and their families from all around Cyprus, who then settled in the town. By 1960 the population of Lefka was 3,674, quite an important rise from 1,162 in 1921.
The first conflict-related violence took place in the late 1950s, when most of the Greek Cypriots of the town fled from the intercommunal tensions caused by the EOKA struggle. By 1960 there were only 88 Greek Cypriots left in the town. However, four years later, again due to intercommunal strife, all the remaining Greek Cypriots of Lefka/Lefke fled the town. Although none of the town’s Turkish Cypriots were displaced in the 1960s, during that period the village served as an important reception center for many displaced Turkish Cypriots who had fled from nearby villages. According to Richard Patrick, the first evacuation in the Lefka region took place at Karavostasi(045) and Xeros at the end of December 1963, when Greek Cypriot irregulars forced a number of Turkish Cypriots to leave at gunpoint. Patrick claims that this harassment was probably in retribution for the above-mentioned evacuation of hundreds of Greek Cypriots from Lefka/Lefke in 1958 during the EOKA campaign. The second wave of displacement followed the freedom of movement agreement in January 1964. Most of the families displaced during these two periods of conflict found refuge in Lefka/Lefke, and Richard Patrick recorded 900 displaced Turkish Cypriots still residing in Lefka/Lefke in 1971. The displaced Turkish Cypriots mainly came from villages such as Xeros- Karavostasi/Gemikonağı(045), Flasou(034), Peristerona(085), Koutrafas/Kurtboğan(054), Morphou/Güzelyurt(072), Akaki/Akaça(013), Agios Epiphanios/Esendağ(005), Linou(062), Korakou(051), Petra/Dereli(087), Peristerona(085), Agioi Iliofotoi/Zeytinlik(003), Orounta(079), Mansoura/Mansur(066), Sellain T’api/Selçuklu(095).
Lefka/Lefke is currently largely occupied by its original inhabitants. In addition, there are some Turkish Cypriots who were displaced from their original villages in 1964 or 1974 remained in the town. For the last twenty years, since the establishment of Lefke European University, many Turkish and third-country nationals have come to study, residing in the town for at least four years. The last Turkish Cypriot census of 2006 put the village’s population at 2,908.
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