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Geunyeli/Gönyeli is a town abutting the Turkish municipality of the capital city of Nicosia. Due to the recent construction boom and suburbanization, the two municipalities have almost merged together. The origin of the town’s name is obscure. Usually it is claimed that the name Gönyeli derived from “Konyalı,” meaning “person from Konya.” Konya is a town situated in central Anatolia from which most of the original inhabitants of Gönyeli claim to have originated. Goodwin, however, suggests that the name Geunyeli is the corruption of Niovili, the name of a fief holder or landowner who lived in Cyprus during the medieval period.
Historical Population:

Since the Ottoman period, and still today, Geunyeli/Gönyeli has been inhabited predominantly by Turkish Cypriots. During the British period, the population of the settlement increased steadily from 269 in 1891 to 1,377 in 1960.


No one was displaced from this settlement during the intercommunal strife of the 1960s. However, during this period, the village served as an important reception center for many displaced Turkish Cypriots who had fled from nearby villages. Richard Patrick recorded 175 displaced Turkish Cypriot still residing in Geunyeli/Gönyeli in 1971. The displaced Turkish Cypriots mainly came from villages such as Agios Vasileios(010), Skylloura(096), Lakatameia(057) and from the Nicosia suburbs(074). Geunyeli/Gönyeli also is home to the Turkish regiment that was stationed on the island in 1960 in accordance with the treaties of 1959.

Current Inhabitants:

Geunyeli/Gönyeli is currently largely populated by its original inhabitants. In addition, there are many Turkish Cypriots who were displaced in 1964 or 1974, the latter group arriving from every part of south Cyprus. Many of the displaced persons who settled in Geunyeli/Gönyeli came from the Morphou/Güzelyurt area, where they were initially resettled in 1974-75 after moving north of the Green Line. Because reunification negotiations have consistently discussed the possibility of territorial readjustment that would put Morphou/Güzelyurt under Greek Cypriot administration, some displaced Turkish Cypriots gradually moved to Geunyeli/Gönyeli and bought property there. The 1996 Turkish census shows that almost 12% of the Turkish Cypriots who lived in Geunyeli/Gönyeli at the time showed their birthplaces as south Cyprus. Over the last twenty years, many other Turkish Cypriots from elsewhere in the north, and especially civil servants working in Nicosia, have also settled in the town as a result of a new construction boom and suburbanization. This resulted in the emergence of a new neighborhood called Yeni Kent (new city) in the southeast section of the old Geunyeli/Gönyeli, now bordering with the suburbs of Nicosia. The town also hosts many foreign students studying in the nearby university and manual workers from Turkey who are employed in the construction and manufacturing industries. The last Turkish Cypriot census of 2006 put the village’s population at 12,186.


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