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Potamia is a large village located in the northeast of the Nicosia district in the government- controlled areas, two kilometers west of Dali on the Gialias river, close to the Green Line separating it from north Cyprus. The name Potamia derives from the Greek word for river (potami
). Since the Ottoman period, it has been inhabited by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. In 1959 Turkish Cypriots adopted the alternative name Dereliköy, meaning “village with a stream.”
Potamia was always a mixed village. As can be seen from the chart above, in the Ottoman census of 1831, Muslims (Turkish Cypriots) constituted the majority of the inhabitants (58%). However, in 1891 their percentage decreased to 49%. Although the Turkish Cypriot population of the village fluctuated in the last decades of the British period, eventually it increased steadily, comparatively better than their Greek Cypriot neighbors. By the 1960 census the Turkish Cypriot share of the village had risen to 59%.
The first recorded conflict-related displacement in relation to Potamia/Dereliköy took place in 1964. It is known that, following the battle at Agios Sozomenos(008) on 6 February 1964, almost all of the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Potamia were displaced and moved to the Louroudjina/Akıncılar(063) enclave. The number of those who were displaced was approximately 330 (as there were 319 Turkish Cypriot inhabitants in 1960). Many went back to the village in 1969. Richard Patrick recorded 200 Turkish Cypriots who were staying in Potamia in 1971. According to Patrick, the government claimed to have spent over 4,000 pounds on the repair of 45 Turkish Cypriots houses that were destroyed or damaged after the flight of Potamia Turkish Cypriots in 1964. In 1974, most of the Turkish Cypriots who went back and settled in Potamia in 1969 fled the village to the north. Currently, like many Turkish Cypriot displaced people of 1963-64, the Turkish Cypriots of Potamia are scattered around north Cyprus with a large pocket in Argaki/Akçay(020) village. There are also many Potamia Turkish Cypriots living in Nicosia(074). However, there were three or four elderly Turkish Cypriots and a couple of Turkish Cypriot families who remained in the southern part of the divide after 1974, some choosing to stay in the village while others moved to the capital city of Nicosia. According to Goodwin, there were still 20 Turkish Cypriots living in the village in 1976.
Currently Potamia is mainly inhabited by its original Greek Cypriot villagers, displaced Greek Cypriots from the north and a handful of Potamia Turkish Cypriots. After 1974, Potamia had to accommodate many displaced Greek Cypriots who had fled the north. Most of the empty Turkish houses were allocated for the use of these displaced Greek Cypriots. The last census of 2001 puts the total population of the village at 415.
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