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Galateia,or Galatya, is a Turkish Cypriot village situated in the Karpasia/Karpaz peninsula, located eighteen kilometers southwest of Yialousa/Yeni Erenköy and three kilometers southwest of Tavros village. The meaning of the name is obscure, but it may have roots in “Gallos,” or “French.” Turkish Cypriots changed the name to Mehmetçik in 1958, meaning “little Mehmet.” Mehmetçik is also used in Turkish to refer to soldiers, and in Cyprus has the connotation of soldiers from mainland Turkey. 
Historical Population:

As can be seen from the chart above, in the Ottoman census of 1831, Muslims (Turkish Cypriots) constituted the sole inhabitants of the village. Throughout the British period the village was almost solely inhabited by Turkish Cypriots, with only a small number of Greek Cypriots resident in the village for short periods of time. During the first half of the 20th century, the village’s population steadily increased from 707 in 1901 to 1270 in 1960.


From its original population no one was displaced; however, the village served as a transitory reception centre for displaced Turkish Cypriots in 1964. In 1971, geographer Richard Patrick recorded 59 displaced persons living in the village. From 1964 to 1974, it was the administrative centre of the Turkish Cypriot enclaves of the region. While the micro census conducted by the Republic of Cyprus in 1973 estimated 1,184 persons residing in the village, in 1971, Patrick estimated the village’s population at 1,550.

Current Inhabitants:

Currently the village is mainly inhabited by its original villagers. After 1974, due to the migration of the youth to find jobs in the cities and abroad, the village’s population began to decline considerably, from 1550 in 1971, to 1054 in 1996. However, over the last ten years, some Turkish Cypriots from elsewhere in the island’s north (including returnees from abroad) have bought property, built houses, and settled here, which has had a positive effect on the village’s population growth. The 2006 Turkish Cypriot census puts the village’s population at 1196.  

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