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Palaikythro is a village located in the middle of the Mesaoria/Mesarya Plain, six kilometers south of Kythrea/Değirmenlik. Palaikythro means “old Kythrea” in Greek. In 1959, Turkish Cypriots adopted the alternative name Balıkesir, probably taken from a town of the same name in western Anatolia. At the same time, the Turkish alternative name resembles the Greek one in sound and pronunciation. Until 1964, the village was mixed, inhabited by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.  
Historical Population:

As can be seen from the chart above, the village was always mixed. In the Ottoman census of 1831, Muslims (Turkish Cypriots) constituted a slight majority of the population at 59%. However, in 1891 their percentage decreased significantly to 32%. Throughout the British period, while the Greek Cypriot population increased steadily, the Turkish Cypriot population fluctuated. Four years before the departure of the Turkish Cypriots from the village in 1964, the Greek Cypriot share of the village’s population was at 77.4%.


The first conflict-related displacement occurred in January 1964, when all the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Palaikythro fled the village and moved to more secure Turkish Cypriot-controlled villages such as Mora/Meriç(081), Epicho/Cihangir(030), Knodara/Gönendere(152), Chatos/Serdarlı(135), Kalyvakia/Kalavaç(043) and Petra tou Digeni/Yeniceköy(088). The number of those who were displaced was approximately 270 (251 in the 1960 census). They stayed in those locations until 1974, when they were relocated back to their village. The second conflict-related displacement took place in August 1974 when all the Greek Cypriots of the village were displaced. It is important to note that seventeen Greek Cypriots (including women and children) who were trapped in the village during their evacuation were killed by Turkish Cypriot irregulars. Currently, like the rest of the displaced Greek Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots of Palaikythro are scattered throughout the island’s south, with large pockets in towns. The number of the Palaikythro Greek Cypriots who were displaced in 1974 was approximately 990 (976 in the 1973 census).

Current Inhabitants:

Currently the village is mainly occupied by its original Turkish Cypriot inhabitants and Turkish Cypriots who moved here after 1974 from nearby villages such as Epicho/Cihangir(030) and Mora/Meriç(071). There are also many displaced Turkish Cypriots from thirteen different locations in the south. Most derive from Aredyou(019) (Nicosia district); Istinjo (Kios)/Tabanlı(308), Agios Georgios/Kavaklı(284), Souskiou/Susuz(337), Evretou/Dereboyu(300), and Asprogia/Aktepe(296) in the Paphos district; while some famlies from villages in the Limassol and Larnaca districts also settled there. In addition, there are a few families from Turkey who settled in the village after 1974. The last census of 2001 puts the total population of the village at 1,074.  

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