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Kouklia, or Kukla, is a village, located near the ancient town of Paphos (Palea Paphos). It is situated sixteen kilometers southeast of modern Paphos (Ktima) and immediately north of the Paphos-Limassol highway. According to the villlage’s website, Kouklia was in existence during the Byzantine period. The site also claims that Kouklia was the property of the Byzantine officer Kouvikoularios. The guards of Byzantine emperors who kept watch over the imperial dormitory were called kouvikoularioi and were often rewarded with fiefs or country houses for their services. However Goodwin claims that in Greek kivourka and kouvoklia mean “tombs” or “entombing places.” Turkish Cypriots called the village Kukla until 1958, when they adopted the alternative name Sakarya. This name was given to commemorate the battle of Sakarya, an important three-week encounter in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922 and the Turkish War of Independence.
Kouklia was a mixed village until 1975. As may be seen from the chart above, in the Ottoman census of 1831, Christians (Greek Cypriots) constituted almost 58% of the population. However, the British censuses show that until 1921 the number of the Muslim (Turkish Cypriot) inhabitants of the village was slightly higher than that of their Greek Cypriot neighbors. From the second quarter of the 20th century, the Greek Cypriot percentage of the population increased more than that of the Turkish Cypriots. The 1960 census put the Greek Cypriot percentage of the village at 60%.
No one was displaced during either the emergency years of the 1950s or the intercommunal strife of the 1960s. However, during the latter period the village’s Turkish sector housed some displaced Turkish Cypriots from Lempa/Çınarlı(317) and from the suburbs of Paphos/Ktima(329).
On 22 July 1974, Greek Cypriot forces attacked the Turkish sector of the village in reaction to the Turkish offensive then taking place in the north of the island and in order to disarm Turkish Cypriot Fighters. During this attack, almost all of the Kouklia Turkish Cypriots fled the village, leaving behind only persons who were too old or ill to travel. The Turkish Cypriots of Kouklia first attempted to seek refuge in Alektora/Gökağaç(256) and Avdimou/Düzkaya(260). However, those villages had already been evacuated and so they moved on to the Akrotiri Sovereign British Base Area, where they remained until January 1975 when they were taken to the north via Turkey. On 16 August 1975, those 28 mostly elderly persons who had been left behind in Kouklia village were evacuated under UNFICYP escort and taken to the north. They were mainly resettled in Karavas/Alsancak(226), Lapithos/Lapta(237), Morphou/Güzelyurt(072), Kythrea/Değirmenlik(056), Kyra/Mevlevi(055), Trachhoni/Demirhan(099), Neo Chorio/Minareliköy(073), Gerolakkos/Alayköy(037), Famagusta(140) and Nicosia(074). The number of Kouklia Turkish Cypriots who were displaced after 1974 was around 450 (419 in 1960 census).
Currently, Kouklia is mainly occupied by its original Greek Cypriot inhabitants and some displaced Greek Cypriots from the island’s north. According to the 2001 census there are 669 persons residing in the village.
Books and Reports:
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Department of Statitstics and Research, 1997. Estimates of Turkish Cypriots and Settlers from Turkey, Ministry of Finance [Republic of Cyprus], Nicosia.
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- Mavrogordato, Alexander (1901), “Report and general abstracts of the census of 1901, taken on the 1st April, 1901,” Nicosia: Government Printing Office.
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Perry, Frederic W., 1884. Report on the Census of Cyprus 1881, Eyre and Spottiswoode, London.
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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.
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