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Lefkonoiko is a small town of northeast Mesaoria, located only three miles west of Gypsou/Akova village and fifteen miles west of the city of Famagusta.Lefkonoiko means “white house” in ancient Greek. Before 1974, the Turkish Cypriot name of the village was Lefkonuk. However, it was renamed Geçitkale in 1975, after the home village (Kofinou) of those displaced Turkish Cypriots who were resettled there. Geçitkale was the alternative Turkish name of Kofinou(360)
, which was adopted in 1958. It means “castle of the passage.”
As can be seen from the chart above, Lefkonoiko was a mixed village until 1960. Greek Cypriots always constituted the majority in the village. In the Ottoman census of 1831, Christians constituted almost 85% of the population. This percentage gradually increased until the end of first half of the 20th century (95%) and eventually became almost 100% in 1960.
In 1958, due to intercommunal strife, all the Lefkonoiko Turkish Cypriots with the exception of a single family of three fled the village and took refuge in nearby villages and in Nicosia. They stayed in those locations until 1974. Some expressed an interest in being relocated back to their village after 1974, but the majority stayed where they had sought refuge in 1958 or resettled in other locations, mainly in the cities.
All the Greek Cypriots of Lefkonoiko were displaced in August 1974. They fled to the south of the Green Line from the advancing Turkish military forces. Currently, like the rest of the Greek Cypriot refugees, the Greek Cypriots of Lefkonoiko are scattered throughout the island’s south, with some pockets in the cities. The displaced population of Lefkonoiko could be estimated to be around 2,120 since its population was 2,116 in 1973.
After the 1974 war, the town was repopulated by the displaced Turkish Cypriots from Kofinou(360)
village in the Larnaca district, as well as Turkish Cypriot villagers who abandoned their Turkish Cypriot village Artemis/Arıdamı(130)
, north of Lefkonoiko. The 2006 census puts the village’s population at 1,309.
Books and Reports:
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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.
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- Özad, Murat Hüsnü (2002), “Baf ve Mücadele Yılları,” Lefkoşa (Nicosia): Akdeniz Haber Ajansı Yayınları.
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- Yorgancıoğlu, Oğuz: Kıbrıs’ta Türkçe Yer Adları ve Veriliş Yöntemleri Üzerine Bir Araştırma Kıbrıs Araştırmaları Dergisi, Cilt : 2, Sayı : 3, Yıl : 96