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The small town of Polis tis Chrysochou, or Poli for Turkish Cypriots, is located at the northwest end of the island on Chrysochou bay, at the edge of the Akamas
peninsula. Polis means “city” in Greek, so the town was “the city of Chrysochou.” The location on which the current town stands has been inhabited since ancient times. During the British period, it served as the capital of Khyrsokhou Nahiye (district). Unlike in other villages, Turkish Cypriots did not adopt an alternative Turkish name and so continued to call the town Poli.
Polis was a mixed town until 1975. As may be seen from the chart above, in the Ottoman census of 1831, Muslims (Turkish Cypriots) constituted 55% of the population and hence the majority. However, the second British census of 1891 shows that by the end of the 19th century the Turkish Cypriot percentage had fallen to 46%, slightly lower than of their Greek Cypriot neighbors. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Greek Cypriot population increased more than that of the Turkish Cypriots. The 1960 census put the Greek Cypriot share of the population at almost 60%.
No one was displaced during the emergency years of the late 1950s. The first displacement occurred during the intercommunal conflict that began in late 1963. On 14 February 1964, due to the intercommunal fighting, all the Turkish Cypriots of Prodromi(334) and Polis took refuge in the Turkish Cypriot secondary school, where they were besieged. This situation remained basically unchanged until 1968. By the time Richard Patrick visited the area in 1971, the Polis and Prodromi(334) Turkish Cypriots had slightly increased their area and built some refugee housing, but Patrick still describes it as an overcrowded space: “The Turkish sector of Polis has been reduced to a very small congested strip of land astride the Polis-Ktima highway. The quarter measures a few hundred yards square.” He also reported that 70% of the population living in this small enclave consisted of displaced persons from Polis and Prodromi.
The situation continued with little improvement until July 1974, when Greek Cypriot forces launched an attack on the Turkish Cypriot quarter, after the Turkish Cypriots refused to surrender their guns. The fighting continued for one day. Eventually, most of the Turkish Cypriot Fighters fled the quarter and sought refuge in nearby Pelathousa(330) village. Following the ceasefire agreement in late August, some of the civilians also fled Polis. They mainly sought refuge in the nearby village of Gialia(307) and later crossed the mountains to go to the north. The rest of the Polis Turkish Cypriots who were enclaved in the village were evacuated to the north under UNFICYP escort on 22 August 1975. They were mainly resettled in the towns, Morphou/Güzelyurt(072), Famagusta(140), Kyrenia(236) and Nicosia(074). The number of Polis Turkish Cypriots who were displaced after 1974 was around 720 (714 in the 1973 census).
Currently, Polis is mainly occupied by its original Greek Cypriot inhabitants and some displaced Greek Cypriots from the northern part of the island. According to the 2001 census, there are 1,262 persons residing in the town of Polis. However, the total population of the municipality of Polis is 1,847, including the villages of Prodromi(334)
and Latsi. In recent years, many foreign workers from Eastern Europe, most working in the construction and tourism sectors, have also begun to live in this rapidly expanding small town.
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