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Vasili is a village located on the Karpasia/Karpaz peninsula
, situated only half a mile east of Leonarisso/Ziyamet village. Vasili means “King” in Greek. In 1975, Turkish Cypriots changed the village’s name to Gelincik, meaning “poppy.” Gelincik was also the brand name of a Turkish tobacco and cigarette. Many villages in the Karpasia/Karpaz region were renamed after certain cigarette and tobacco brand names, so that Vothklakas became Derince, Vasili became Gelincik, Gialousa became Maltepe and Agia Trias became Sipahi. The common explanation for this choice of names is that in the early 1970s the Karpasia/Karpaz region was the main tobacco growing area of Cyprus.
As can be seen from the chart above, although Vasili was a mixed village until 1946, for most of its history the village had a predominant Greek Cypriot majority. Interestingly, the Ottoman census of 1831 had recorded the village as an entirely Muslim village. Whether this situation was the mistake of the census takers or not is difficult to determine. The British census of 1891 shows that the percentage of Turkish Cypriots then living in the village was only 10.7%. During the first half of the 20th century, the total population of the village continued to increase steadily. This increase applied to both communities, so that the 1946 census recorded Turkish Cypriots as constituting 10.6% of the population, almost the percentage of 60 years earlier. In the 1960 census, however, no Turkish Cypriots were left in the village.
In 1958, due to intercommunal strife, all the Vasili Turkish Cypriots fled and took refuge in nearby villages and towns. None showed an interest in being relocated back to their village after 1960 when the bi-communal Republic of Cyprus was founded. The majority stayed where they had sought refuge in 1958 or resettled in some other locations, mainly in the cities.
About a third of the Greek Cypriots of Vasili were displaced in August 1974, while almost 260 of them remained in the village until October 1975. However, all the villagers left (or had to leave) to go to the southern part of the divide by the summer of 1976. By December 1976, there were no Greek Cypriots living in the village of Vasili.
Apart from a small number of the original Vasili Turkish Cypriots who returned in 1974, the rest of the village’s population consists of persons from Turkey who settled in the village in 1976-77. They are mainly from the Ağrı, Trabzon, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kars and Iğdır provinces of Turkey. The 2006 census puts the village’s population at 458.
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