Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kios: abandoned village, reoccupied, decayed, damaged, destroyed

This former Turkish Cypriot village is officially known as Kios, commonly known as Istinjo, and occasionally known as Tabanlı (1); however it is named, the abandoned village has been reoccupied, and it has decayed; and it has been damaged and destroyed. I've finally created the site photo blog for the evacuated village of Kios/Tabanlı: cultural heritage and community.

Soon after the war of 1974, historical toponymist Jack Goodwin (1978: 340) recorded that
The T [Turkish Cypriots] left for resettlement in N [northern] Cyprus under UNFICYP escort in Aug[ust] 1975, [and] G [Greek Cypriot] refugees have occup[ied] some houses under the Govt [Government] "temp[orary] allocation" program[me].
Yet as one Turkish Cypriot, Halil (2008) observed, 'the only inhabitants are now goats, sheep and pigs, tended by local farmers'. (Turkish Cypriot journalist Hasan Karaokçu (2003c) had found the same thing; and so did I, in this skeleton of a home.)

And recently, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency(2) claimed 'Tabanlı (İstinco)' had been 'destroyed [yok edilen]' (KKTCC, 2007). So was the village reoccupied, or was it destroyed?

Istinco villager Mehmet Güçlü considered that,
It is difficult to explain the raid that was carried out in my village....

Hundreds of walnut trees which were grown by our grandfathers or by our generation were all cut and taken away. Now you can't even find their traces. Of course, the Greek Cypriots benefited from the timbers of the walnut trees, which are quite expensive. They used these timbers both for carving and making furniture. This was a short way for the Greek Cypriots to make a profit....

The Greek Cypriots did all this intentionally, so that the Turks would not want to return to their former places (cited in Karaokçu, 2003a).
One Turkish Cypriot villager of Istinjo, BirKıbrıslı (2007b), reviewed:
The wallnut [sic - walnut] tree was long gone. The orchards, the vineyards, the almond and carob trees, even the figs had disappeared. There were a few skinny pomegranate and orange trees trying to survive in the suffocating heat. The water at the fountain which was flowing day and night as thick as my neck had almost totally dried up.
And not only orchards and vineyards had been destroyed.

BirKıbrıslı (2007a), relayed that one of the other villagers 'was unable to locate the plot of land on which his house stood because no landmark he recognised remained standing'.

BirKıbrıslı (2007b) explained that:
It was like visiting a foreign place. None of my family's houses were still standing. And the house I was born in lay in ruins just across the road from Grandparents' "guest house"....

I couldnt identify the places where the village flour mill and the wheat threshing field had stood.
The buildings had not simply decayed.

Like Hasan Karaokçu (2003c), I found the school with its doors removed, its windows smashed, and the ruin reused as a straw barn.

Furthermore, Karaokçu (2003c) claimed that '[a]ll the houses [in Appiyaca district of lower Istinjo/Tabanlı] had been razed to the ground and the place was in ruins'. At least some of the ruins I saw seem to fit Karaokçu's description of homes razed to the ground; and others appeared destroyed.

Intriguingly, the Cyprus Temples project's bicommunal architectural team believed Istinco Mosque's structure was in '[g]ood' condition, and its mass '[p]reserved'.

But the Cyprus Temples project had evidently visited Istinjo Mosque soon after its restoration, because in 2003, Turkish Cypriot journalist Hasan Karaokçu (2003c) found the mosque 'a victim of neglect. Its doors and windows were all broken and inside was full of pigeon nests and faeces'.

Moreover, BirKıbrıslı (2007b) noted that '[o]nly the school building and the mosque, minus the minaret, looked familiar'.

The bicommunal architectural survey team did not know Istinco Mosque's doors and windows had been broken; and the team did not know Istinjo Mosque's minaret had been destroyed.

So, the mosque's doors and windows had been broken, and its minaret destroyed; the school's doors had been removed and its windows smashed, then its ruin reused. Some of the village's houses had been ruined or razed to the ground.

And according to Hasan Fehmi (2003, cited by Halil, 2009), there were 203 Turkish Cypriots in the village in 1973; but there were too few homes for them, or even for the 155 Turkish Cypriots in the village in 1960 (Goodwin, 1978: 340); so, other houses must have been razed to the ground.

This evidence seems to suggest that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency was right: a few of its houses may have been reoccupied immediately after the displacement of its Turkish Cypriot community, but the village of Kios/Istinjo/Tabanlı was 'destroyed [yok edilen]' (KKTCC, 2007).
  1. The village is also known as Istinco; Istindjo; Instingio; Istingo; Istinicklo; Istinjon; Istintziou; Kio; Tabanlı; Tehinou; Tehiu; Tehoropi.
  2. Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı.

BirKıbrıslı. 2007a: "Turkish speaking Cypriots are a minority in the North". Cyprus Forum, 14th January. Available at:

BirKıbrıslı. 2007b: "BirKibrisli's dairy [sic - diary]... My first 17 years in 7 days...". Cyprus Forum, 18th December. Available at:

CCEAA and CCTA (Cyprus Civil Engineers' and Architects' Association and Chamber of Cyprus Turkish Architects). 2007ox: "Istinco Mosque [Paphos District]". Cyprus Temples, 17th November. Available at:

Fehmi, H. 2003: Güneyde kalan değerlerimiz [Our remaining assets in the South]. Lefkoşa: Özay Matbaacılık.

Goodwin, J C. 1978: An historical toponymy of Cyprus. Nicosia: Jack C. Goodwin.

Halil. 2008: "The 100's [sic] of villages that were burned down". Cyprus Forum, 11th February. Available at:

Halil. 2009: "Melandra, Istinjo, Sarama, Tremithousa, Anadiou". Cyprus Forum, 22nd May. Available at:

Karaokçu, H. 2003a: "The present conditions of Turkish Cypriot villages in south Cyprus 1". Diplomatic Observer. Available at:

Karaokçu, H. 2003c: "The present conditions of Turkish Cypriot villages in south Cyprus 3". Diplomatic Observer. Available at:

KKTCC (Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency]). 2007: "Erçakıca 'Mülkiyet Sorununu Kıbrıs Sorunundan ayırmak ve sadece Rumların Sorunu diye lanse etmek İnsafsızlık' [Erçakıca: 'it is an injustice to separate the Property Problem from the Cyprus Problem and to present it as only the Greeks' problem']". Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Presidency], 13. Haziran. Şu adreste bulunabilir:

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