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Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia with a surface of 9251 km2  . While North Cyprus is 3242 km2 . The island of Cyprus has attracted states and civilizations throughout history who wanted to dominate the Mediterranean and trade in the Mediterranean due to its special location in the Eastern Mediterranean.


The island has a Mediterranean climate and generally is sunny during the whole year. The island of Cyprus having beautiful beaches and seasides is the main attraction for many tourists who come to visit as well as invest in Cyprus.

Due to this feature, the island had been called by many names throughout history until it was given its current name. In Egypt and Hittite periods, Cyprus was named as Alaşya (Alasya, Alashia) or Asi, and as Hetim (Hettim) in the period of Phoenicians. However in the Assyrian documents the island was called Yatnana or Ya. The city states of Amatusya, Salaminya and Pafya established in Cyprus were also used as names of the island in some periods. It is assumed that the name of “Cyprus” came from the name of the main queen Kybele who was called Kipris. Another assumption is that it was named after “kopher” a word which means copper in Hebrew. It is also believed that it came from the word “cuprum” in Akkadian and Latin. Another belief is that the island took its name from a kind of tree called “Cypress” which was abundant in Cyprus.

Cyprus was ruled as an independent kingdom in historical periods. In later years, it was invaded by other powerful states around the island because of its strategic location. In this way, every state who ruled the island enriched the culture of the island by leaving traces of their culture. The island of Cyprus was ruled by Egypt, Hittite, Greek Colonies (Aka and Dor), Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Alexander the Great, Romansthe East Roman (Byzantine), the Islamic State, Isaac Comneneus, Knights Templar, the Lusignans, Venetians, Ottomans and Great Britain since the time it existed.

Christianity was accepted as an official religion of the island in the Roman era, in 46 AD. During that period, Jews who lived in the island rejected Christianity as the official religion of the island of Cyprus and they revolted against the Romans. The Romans banished the Jews from Cyprus because of this movement. When the Roman Empire was divided into Eastern and Western parts in 395 AD, Cyprus became a part of the Eastern Roman Empire due to its geographical location. Christianity was spread rapidly during the Byzantine domination and the first Orthodox Church was established on the island.

Due to its dominant position in the Mediterranean and its military and commercial importance, the island of Cyprus was an area of conflict for Muslims and Christians throughout the centuries. It is said that when the Byzantines ruled Cyprus, 24 expeditions were embarked by Islamic armies between the years of 632-964. The island was conquered by Muslims in 649. The island of Cyprus played an important role between the Crusaders and the Byzantine when the Crusades began at the end of XI century. The Byzantine Emperor accepted that the commercial privileges which were provided to the Venetians in 1148, were valid for the islands of Crete and Cyprus and in this way the settlement of the Latins in Cyprus was allowed.

During the times of the Crusades, Cyprus was more important for the Crusaders compared to the past due to its special position on the way to the Holy Land. Isaac Comnenesus’s administration on the island ended with the arrival of Richard I, King of England (Richard the Lionheart) to Cyprus in May 1191. According to the sources, the most important contribution of the III. Crusades to the Crusader World was conquering the island of Cyprus.

When Richard the Lionheart ruled the island, at first, he sold the island to the Knights Templar and when the knights realised that they could not rule the island anymore they gave it back and Richard sold the island to Guy de Lusignan in 1192. Thus, the Lusignan rule on the island started. Between the years of 1192-1489, kings and queens from the Lusignan descendants ruled the island. During the Lusignan era, Cyprus was an irreplaceable base for the Crusaders who continued their existence mainly in Acre and some other cities until 1291, and for Antioch and Tripoli Crusader states. During the Lusignan period, the Latin archbishopric was founded in Cyprus mainly in Nicosia.

Latin eparchies were opened in the cities of Paphos, Famagusta and Limassol. In 1260, Pope Alexander declared the Latin Archbishop as the only religious leader of the whole island with his official statement which was entitled “Bulla Cypria.” This situation created uneasiness among the Orthodox Cypriots and at the same time it led them to revolt against the government from time to time.

The Cyprus kings had an important role in the Christian- Muslim struggle in the Near East. Besides their logistic support, the Lusignan Kings also participated in the Crusades with their armies. In time, due to the crusader mentality policies of the Cyprus Kings, the island of Cyprus became a shelter for the Crusaders who were expelled from the Near East.

The Mamluk State which ruled Egypt and Syria between the years of 1250-1517 marked an important place in the Islamic and Turkish history. The Mamelukes who struggled with the Crusaders and protected the Holy Land, also raided Cyprus which was the most important base of the Crusaders in the Near East. It is also known that Limassol, Larnaca and Nicosia were also conquered by Sultan Barsbay in 1426. The Lusignan origin Cyprus King Janus was also imprisoned during this incursion. However, the Mamelukes no longer stayed in Cyprus, they allowed the Lusignan Kings to rule Cyprus in return for a yearly 8000 dukas tax.

When the Genoese – Venetian conflict in the island was added to the external problems, Cyprus’s economy collapsed completely. The Genoese won this struggle and ruled the island, and they held the control of Famagusta between the years of 1372-1464. Venetians pressured the Venice-origin last Lusignan royalty of the island Queen Caterina to give up her throne for their interest in 1489. Therefore, by terminating the Lusignan rule on the island, Venice eliminated the last Crusader state in the East. The Venetian state had continued to pay the same tax to the Mamelukes which was paid by the Lusignan Kings in order to ensure their dominance in Cyprus. When Yavuz Sultan Selim (1512-1520) conquered Egypt in 1517 and terminated the rule of Mameluke Sultanate, the Venetian Republic started to pay taxes to the Ottoman Empire instead of the Mamelukes.

The Turks’ interest in the island of Cyprus and trading with the island began during Anatolian Seljuk’s period. After the conquest of Antalya, Anatolian Seljuk Sultan I. Gıyaseddin Keyhüsrev had granted certain trade privileges to Cypriots. Cyprus joined the troops against the Ottoman Empire which was established by the Knights of Venice and Rhodes and Uzun Hasan for the first time in 1472.

While the Ottoman State was preparing for the attack against the Mameluke State in 1486, they demanded a base from the King of Cyprus for the Ottoman Navy. Upon the rejection of this request, the fleet carried out limited attacks on the Cypriot coast.


There are many reasons why the island of Cyprus was conquered by the Ottomans. During the reign of Yavuz Sultan Selim, the Holy Lands joined the Empire with the conquest of Syria and Egypt. These conquests caused building of the security in the Eastern Mediterranean to be inevitable. The strategic importance of Cyprus increased as the result of the Ottoman Empire taking over the countries around the Eastern Mediterranean. The conquest of the island was necessary for the establishment of the Ottoman rule in the Mediterranean. In spite of the peace treaty they signed with the Ottoman Empire in 1540, Venice allowed the Venetian and Maltese pirates to set up a base in the island. These pirates were using the island, which was located at the crossroads of the trade routes, as a base point and jeopardized the safety of tradesmen and pilgrims who were travelling to the Holy Lands. Furthermore, being a former Islamic country was also effective in the decision of the incursion. Indeed, the legacy right of the Ottomans in the island was mentioned in the fatwa which was given by the Shayk al-Islam Ebusuud Efendi related to the Cyprus incursion.

The famous Grand Vizier Sokullu Mehmet Pasha was initially against the Cyprus incursion due to the projects to open the Don-Volga and the Suez Canals. The Vizier also believed that this incursion may do more harm than good to the state. However, once the decision of the Cyprus incursion was made, Sokullu Mehmet Pasha was quick to take the necessary precautions for the conquest of the island.

First, the sale of any product from the Ottoman state to Cyprus was banned, and the island of Cyprus tried to be taken to a commercial blockade. Recognizing that after the Ottomans conquered Rhodes there is danger of being conquered by the Ottoman State, the Republic of Venice began to take necessary defence measures in Cyprus. In response to the war preparations of the Ottomans, Venice tries to secure the support of the Pope and Spain in order to create a large crusader navy against the Ottoman State. On the other hand, Venice strengthens all military castles especially the in Nicosia and Famagusta provinces in Cyprus.

The Ottoman armies began an arduous conquest of the island of Cyprus under the command of Lala Mustafa Pasha in March and May, 1570. The Ottoman armies reached Limassol castle on 2nd of July. No difficulties were experienced in the conquest of Limassol because the people had left the castle. One day later, the Ottoman fleet reached Larnaka. The people of the island provided all kinds of logistical support to the Ottoman armies while they were moving towards the inner parts of the city.

Ottoman forces seized Nicosia after about one and a half month siege. The fall of Nicosia, led Kyrenia and Paphos also to surrender to the Ottomans without battling. After the occupation of the island, Lala Mustafa Pasha established a governor office in Nicosia. Muzaffer Pasha was assigned as the first Governor of Cyprus and the necessary preparations for the conquest of Famagusta began. The conquest of Cyprus was completed when Famagusta Castle was captured on August 1, 1571.

As a result of the attempts of the Venetian State, a large Crusader fleet countered the Ottoman fleet which was returning from the Cyprus incursion at a place called Lepanto. Among the Ottoman fleet only the ships under the command of Uluç Ali Pasha managed to survive from the sea warfare on October 7, 1571. The dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean which was obtained with Preveza Sea Warfare in 1538 was shaken with this defeat. When the Ottoman Empire revealed its fleet again in a very short time, Venice accepted that Cyprus belonged to the Ottoman Empire with the agreement dated March 7, 1573.


In order to make a newly conquered country literally a homeland and to defend it easily, Turkish Muslims were required to settle there. Therefore, a population census was conducted in 1572 in order to determine how many people could be brought to Cyprus from Ottoman territory. After the census, it was discovered that many settlements were abandoned in Cyprus and it was discovered that nobody lived in 76 villages in the Mesarya and Mazota regions.

The administrators of the Ottoman State banished the Turkish Muslims from Anatolia (Konya, Karaman, Niğde, Kayseri, et al.) to Cyprus.

According to data of the population census conducted in 1572, a total of 1,689 families were banished to Cyprus mainly from Aksaray, Beyşehir, Seydişehir, Endugi, Develihisar, Ürgüp, Koçhisar, Niğde, Bor, Ilgın, İshaklı and Akşehir. Only 8,000 families out of 12,000 were settled in Cyprus up to the end of XVI century. Exiles continued after the conquest in order to develop and revitalize the island. The island of Cyprus was used as a detention colony during the last half of the XVII century and in the XVIII century.

The administrators of the Ottoman State also worked to ensure the security and safety of the major cities of the island. Therefore, non-Muslims who were living in Nicosia and Famagusta castles had been removed and Muslims were settled in those houses. Also the native population who had left Cyprus due to the persecution of the Venetian State were also recalled to the island. The Ottomans also prohibited heavy taxes and drudgery. Throughout history, fluctuations were observed in the population of Cyprus. These ups and downs that occurred in the population during the Ottoman period can be connected to the natural conditions, external pressures, the public officials who were representatives of the Ottomans and inappropriate attitudes of the representatives of the Orthodox archbishop and court interpreters. Stating that there were 12,000 Christians who paid taxes in Cyprus in 1738, Richard Pococke said that 2/3rds of the population were Christians and 1/3rd were Muslims. According to Alexander Drummond, there were 150.000 Turkish Muslims and 50.000 Christians in Cyprus between the years of 1745 and 1750. According to the population census in 1831, 15,585 Muslim men and 29,780 non-Muslim men lived in Cyprus. Furthermore, according to a British consulate report dated 1858, the population of Cyprus was 180,000.



Muslim Turks must live here in order for a newly conquered place to be fully homeland and to be easy to defend. For this reason, a census (tahrir) was made on the island in 1572 to determine how many people would be brought to Cyprus from the Ottoman country. After this census, it was understood that many settlements in Cyprus were abandoned. In fact, it was revealed that no one lived in 76 villages in the Mesarya and Mazato regions.

The rulers of the Ottoman Empire had Muslim Turks migrated from Anatolia (Konya, Karaman, Niğde, Kayseri, etc.) to Cyprus with the exile edict in order to cheer up the island. In this edict, it was ordered that those who had a shortage of land in their districts, who did not have a name in the tax books, who were working as a double breaker or as workers, and those who were unemployed in the cities and villages, were sent to Cyprus. In addition, it was stated that those who were engaged in art and trade in the towns were sent to the island of Cyprus with one household account from every ten households. According to the calculations, it was planned to transfer 5,720 households to the island of Cyprus with this edict. In the aforementioned edict, there were encouraging statements such as that the lands of the island of Cyprus are very fertile, that the security in the island is fully ensured, that those who come for the reconstruction and construction of Cyprus will be exempted from taxes for two years, that the goods of those who have property are immediately sold and their money is given to them.

According to the census made in 1572, a total of 1,689 families were deported to Cyprus from Aksaray, Beyşehir, Seydişehir, Endugi, Develihisar, Ürgüp, Koçhisar, Niğde, Bor, Ilgın, İshaklı and Akşehir. XVI. Until the end of the century, only 8,000 of the 12,000 families planned to be resettled in Cyprus were settled. Exiles to the island for the development of the island of Cyprus will continue in the first years after the conquest for the revival of the island of Cyprus.

While the Ottoman State administrators brought people from Anatolia to Cyprus, they also worked to ensure the security in the big cities of the island. For this reason, non-Muslims living in Nicosia and Famagusta castles, other than craftsmen, were taken out of the castle by buying their houses by Muslims. While the Ottoman administration had Muslim Turkish elements migrated to Cyprus from Anatolia, it also calls back the local people who fled from Cyprus after the persecution of the Venetian State. In addition, the Ottomans abolished many of the heavy taxes taken from the Cypriots and prohibited drudgery. He wanted the islanders to work in the sugar houses only one day a week.

Throughout history, fluctuations have been observed in the population of Cyprus. The ups and downs in the population during the Ottoman period can be attributed to natural conditions, external pressures and the inappropriate attitudes of the archbishops and palace interpreters, who were the representatives of the Orthodox on the island. According to Coronelli, the population of Cyprus before the Ottoman conquest in 1571 was 196,986, of which 56,044 were in Nicosia, 6.616 in Famagusta and 134,926 in other regions. According to Savorgnan, 180,000 people lived in Cyprus in 1562, and 200,000 people in 1570 according to A. Graziani. Dandini in 1596 gives the Muslim male population as 12-13,000, and Cotovicus in 1599 as 6,000. Western travelers mention that cities such as Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia and Paphos were significantly Turkified in the 1590s. According to population estimates in other years, between 1691 and 1695, according to Coronelli, 28,000 non-Muslims and 8,000 Muslim men lived on the island, and in 1777, according to Kyprianos, 37,000 Christians and 47,000 Muslims lived on the Island. In 1738, Richard Pococke states that there are 12,000 taxpaying Christians on the island of Cyprus, and says that 2/3 of the population in Cyprus is Christian and 1/3 is Muslims. According to Alexander Drummond between 1745 and 1750, there were 150,000 Muslim Turks and 50,000 Christians on the island of Cyprus. In addition, in 1746, there were 12,050 jizya taxpayers on the island of Cyprus as 1.200 a’la, 9.400 evsat and 1.410 ednâ. According to the census conducted in 1831, 15,585 Muslim men and 29,780 non-Muslim men live in Cyprus. A British consular report dated 1858 gives the population of Cyprus as 180,000.


As soon as the conquest of the island of Cyprus was completed, the Ottoman administrators made Cyprus a beylerbeylik attached to Istanbul. Along with the central Nicosia, the Paphos, Girne and Famagusta sanjaks from the island and Alaiye, Tarsus, İçel, Zülkadriye, Sis and Tripolitania sanjaks from outside Cyprus were connected to the Cyprus Governorate. Among the reasons for connecting the sanjak from Anatolia to the island of Cyprus, the low income of the island at first and its security being easier can be counted. The island of Cyprus, with its capital Nicosia, Tuzla, Limassol, Bishop, Gilan, Evdim, Kukla, Paphos, Hirsofu, Lefke, Pendaya, Omorfa, Kyrenia, Karpas, Famagusta and Mesarya.


Under the Ottoman rule, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Maronites, and consuls and merchants of western states lived in Cyprus as non-Muslims. The Ottoman administrators accepted the religious leaders of every community living on the Island as their political leaders, and gave them the right to govern their communities. Therefore, the representatives of each community consisted of religious leaders. In addition, the consuls, who were the representatives of the merchants, were traders.

The Orthodox church began to decline with the Lusignans dominating Cyprus and establishing the Catholic church on the island. After Cyprus was conquered by the Ottoman State, the Orthodox archbishops became both the spiritual and political leaders of the Orthodox living on the island of Cyprus. Archbishops are elected by their own people and priests and reported to Istanbul by the Cyprus taxpayer. The center accepted the priests recommended to it on the condition that they give the miri bakkesh. The Orthodox Greek community used its authority of representation to carry out its judicial, legal and financial affairs through the archbishop elected by the clergy according to the principles of autonomy and the palace interpreter selected from among the candidates nominated by him. The archbishops who remained in Nicosia, the center of Cyprus, organized the reaya as they wished, through the metropolitans they had in Paphos, Tuzla and Girne counties, and the priests in other counties, sub-districts, villages and neighborhoods.

Another representative of the Orthodox on the island of Cyprus was the court interpreters (dragoman) who worked in the court of the muhassils. Among the duties of these people, who worked as money changers and writers alongside the taxpayers, were to know the value of money types and to collect taxes accordingly, and to write the documents to be sent by the muhassils to the towns outside the central Nicosia in Rumi calligraphy. The official appointments of the translators brought to duty on the island were made from the center.

The historical existence of the Armenians of Cyprus goes back to the Byzantine period. The origin of the Armenians of Cyprus was based on the Armenians of Cilicia, Syria and Iran. During the Lusignans period, there was an Armenian Quarter in Nicosia. According to the 1572 census, there are 8 neighborhoods in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. One of them belongs to Armenians. Again, according to the same census results, the Armenian population in Nicosia constituted only 8% of the population of Nicosia, and the executive directors, who were the leaders of the Armenian community living on the island of Cyprus during the Ottoman period, were affiliated with the Armenian patriarchate in Istanbul. It is learned from the court records that Armenians lived in the district of Nicosia, near the Karamanî-zâde District, where the Virgin Mary churches are located, as well as in other parts of Nicosia, especially in the Armenianyan District. Another religious building of the Armenians on the island of Cyprus is the Megara (Saint Makar/Sourp Magar) Monastery in Kyrenia. Armenians in Cyprus were engaged in trade, especially silk trade.

The Jewish community living on the island of Cyprus before the Ottoman administration continued its existence during the Ottoman period. When the island of Cyprus was conquered by the Ottomans, the Jews lived collectively in a neighborhood in the city of Famagusta. Despite the desire to bring some Jews from the city of Safed in 1577 in order to revive the commercial life of Cyprus, Jews were able to be settled on the island in the following years. During the Ottoman period, Jews lived in the city of Nicosia and the villages of Hırsofu, Lefke and Girne, as well as Famagusta. Despite all the incentives for the Jews to immigrate to Cyprus and revive the economic life of the Island, they did not want to settle on the Island.

One of the Christian communities living in Cyprus is the Maronites of Arab origin. The real name of the community called Maronite on the island of Cyprus is Maronite. It is said that the first Maronites migrated to the island after the Crusader king of Jerusalem took Beirut. Dandini, one of the western travelers who visited Cyprus, confirms that the Maronites in Cyprus came to Cyprus from the Lebanese region, and states that they have a church in Nicosia and a total of 19 villages or farms in various parts of the Island.


Another class that is given various privileges on the island of Cyprus is the Consuls, who are allowed to live in Tuzla. The Ottoman Empire granted wide rights to the Consuls in Cyprus as well as in all parts of the empire. The Ottoman Empire aimed to both ensure their security more easily and keep the trade on the island under control by gathering the Consuls of foreign states in Tuzla. It was almost impossible for the Ottoman administrators in Cyprus to bring the consuls under their authority or to control them, and the appointment or dismissal of the consuls who were subordinate to their ambassadors in Istanbul were always carried out with a petition submitted by the ambassadors in Istanbul to the sultan. In the 18th century, the British and French consuls on the island of Cyprus had the right to work as a banker and to lend money with interest.

As it is understood from the documents, the first states to open consulates in Cyprus were France, England, Venice, Dutch (Nederlande/Netherlands) and Genoese states that were active in Mediterranean trade. Under Ottoman rule, in Cyprus, France (France), England, Netherlands (Nederlande/Flemish), Republic of Venice, Republic of Genoa, Roman Emperor (Nemche/Austria-Hungary), Sweden (Sweden-Norway), Kingdom of Sicily (Sicily and Analpa-Napoli) ), Republic of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Denmark, Russia, Kingdom of Spain, Prussia, Republic of Algeria, Sardinia, Belgium, Greece, America and Italy’s consul or deputy consul.


The uprisings initiated by the Muslims (Turks) under the Ottoman rule in the island of Cyprus were mostly movements initiated to eliminate internal problems and troubles or to satisfy personal jealousies, ambitions for position and influence. The rebellions led by the Muslims did not aim to separate the island from the Ottoman rule. The purpose of these rebellions was to change the top management of the Island. However, the state never allowed these wishes to come true and took the necessary measures to suppress the rebellions. It is known that some of the rebellion movements against the Ottoman state in Cyprus were supported or directed by foreign powers, especially European states that have consulates on the Island.

Revolts arising from the abuse of the privileges given to them by the Orthodox church and its administrators in the island of Cyprus were experienced throughout the Ottoman administration. In the reactions against the administration in Cyprus, it is seen that in some periods, priests and local administrators united and acted together. Although the Ottoman State gave extraordinary powers to the archbishop and his deputy metropolitans, it could punish them in the most severe way when they were involved in the revolts. Since the Ottoman administrators accepted the actions of the archbishops who rebelled against the state individually, they did not hesitate to appoint another Orthodox clergyman with the same broad powers after punishing those involved in the rebellion movements.


With the conquest of the island of Cyprus, the Ottomans found an island where the people lived in slave status due to the feudal system, the agricultural production was insufficient and the trade was in need of development. In order for Cyprus to progress socially and economically, Muslim Turks from Anatolia were forced to migrate to the island by exile. In addition, the feudal structure and drudgery on the island are ended.

As with the Ottoman society in general, the Cypriot society, which was a part of the country, consisted of people belonging to different languages, religions, nationalities and cultures. If it is necessary to define the peoples that make up the Cypriot society in terms of religion and culture, when Muslims say Turks, when non-Muslims mean Orthodox Greeks, Armenians, Maronites, Jews, Franks (Latins) and the intentional traders who come to the island for trade are understood. It can be said that there was no conflict arising from these differences in the social segments of the island of Cyprus during the Ottoman rule. In this, the Ottoman administration’s meticulous application of basic concepts such as justice, equality, freedom of religion and conscience, and vast tolerance was very effective. It can be said that all kinds of relations that can be made according to the conditions and situation of the period in daily life have occurred among Turkish Cypriots. The Muslim community on the island of Cyprus was not only considered as men but also with women. Because Cypriot women have not lagged behind men in almost any field. The people on the island did not just establish relationships with the people around them. There has been a relationship between people living in different parts of the island of Cyprus in various ways.

We can accept marriages as the beginning of family relations among Muslims on the island. As seen in the previous periods and regions of the Ottoman history, marriages were made between different religions and communities in Cyprus. It has been observed that inter-communal marriages in the island are mostly between Muslim men and non-Muslim women. The Orthodox Church of Cyprus strongly opposed such marriages and excommunicated those who made such marriages.

Divorce, a negative consequence of marriage, was common in the island of Cyprus, as in other parts of the empire. Between 1726-50, a total of 278 divorce records were found and 262 of them took place among Muslims. Divorce in Cyprus, as in the Ottoman country, was carried out in the form of talaq, muhalaa and dissension according to the Shari’ah provisions. We learn from the court books that muhalaa, which is one of the divorce types, is generally preferred more than the others in the island of Cyprus. The reasons for the divorces that occurred were mostly recorded as severe incompatibility.

Another dimension of familial relationships emerges in children. It is seen that non-Muslims living on the island, like Muslims, applied to the court and asked to be appointed a guardian for their children, one of whose parents died. Orphaned children, who had no relatives to take care of them, were left to the guardianship of a trusted person whom the woman saw fit.

The inheritance of the deceased person in Cyprus is divided among his wife, children and relatives through the Kassams appointed by the Nicosia Sharia Court; In the division of inheritance among children, both non-Muslims and Muslims daughters received half of the inheritance received by sons. When there were disagreements in the sharing of inheritance, these disputes were resolved by the court in Cyprus, as in other parts of the Ottoman country.

There were three types of alimony allowance: for the children of the deceased parents, for the children of the couples with children who divorced, and for the orphaned children. Muslims and non-Muslims living in Cyprus have applied this system. Persons appointed as guardians could apply to the court for the determination of alimony and kisve-bahasi (clothing-equipment money) for the children under their protection, to cover the daily expenses of the children inherited from their mother or father. The kadi could also appreciate alimony in varying amounts depending on the status of the inheritance. In the island of Cyprus, between the years 1726-50, an average of 2.01 monetary alimony was appreciated. It is seen in the documents that no distinction is made between boys or girls while determining the amount of alimony.

Many of the relations between Muslims on the island of Cyprus have also been experienced between non-Muslims in Cyprus. The shar’i court, which operates without making any distinction between people from different communities living in Cyprus, was used by non-Muslims living on the island, as well as by voluntary traders who came to the island of Cyprus from outside the country.

According to Islamic law, offering an oath to a non-Muslim in a criminal case is not legal, although in the XVIII. The oath is frequently encountered in the documents of the first quarter and the second quarter of the 19th century. Sometimes, the non-Muslim people of a neighborhood or a village could complain to the court of someone who had harmed them, as in the case of Muslims, and have him exiled from his place of residence. Non-Muslim couples who are married by their churches prefer to divorce in the presence of a judge in the shar’i court when there is a problem between them. One of the most important reasons for this was that the churches opposed divorce and put forward harsh conditions to the parties. When non-Muslim fathers marry their daughters, they give their grooms a small amount of money or belongings, called medarma (drachoma). This money or property is demanded back in case of divorce or after the death of the girls.

One of the most common relationships between two communities living on the island of Cyprus occurs during the sale of property. Properties sold included houses, gardens, trees, water rights, animals, and miscellaneous items. Since there are not many streams that can flow continuously in Cyprus, and the existing water resources are few, all kinds of water on the island were very important for the islanders.

In some periods, commercial partnerships were also established between Muslims and non-Muslims. In addition, the two communities were producing in solidarity with each other in the branches of tradesmen in Cyprus. Just as non-Muslims worked in the service of Muslims, Muslims could also work in the service of Christians. Between the two communities, in some cases, different practices were observed, one of which was on the days of going to the baths in Nicosia. Non-Muslims are allowed to use the baths in Nicosia on Tuesdays and Saturdays, while Muslims are allowed to use the rest of the week.

One of the most prominent points of the relations between the two societies is the conversion to Islam, that is, conversion. The Ottoman Empire not only left the non-Muslim people living under its rule free in every way, but also allowed them to worship in their own religion or to take an oath in the courts according to their own rites. He never pressured them to change their religion or convert to Islam.

As a result of the study carried out on the part of the Nicosia Court Records covering the entire Ottoman Period, 487 conversion records were found. If we add to this number the 28 (23 male-five female) converts recorded in various forms in the registers, we see that 515 people converted to Islam. Of the 487 people who converted to Islam under the Ottoman rule, 223 (45.7%) were women (married, widowed and single) and girls, and 264 (54.3%) were boys and girls.

In the Ottoman period, the conversion rate to Islam in various years, which is reflected in the documents, was 400 people in 309 years, ie 1.19; Between 1580 and 1640, in a 56-year period, around 20 people, ie 0.36; 13 people in the period 1698-1726, that is, 0.46; In the period between 1726-51, 68 people, i.e. 2.7; In the period between 1769-1800, in 31 years, 121 people, that is, 3.9. The official procedures of non-Muslims who want to accept Islam are handled by the kadi in the Nicosia court. For a non-Muslim to accept his Islam, it was enough to prove his coming of age in court. If the person who converted to Islam was small, he could choose Islam with the permission of his parents, and if he did not have anyone, he could be given the guardianship of a Muslim with the help of a woman and become a Muslim. As in other parts and neighborhoods of the island of Cyprus, Muslims and Christians lived together in a friendly and cordial manner in the capital Nicosia districts. In the second quarter of the 18th century, a total of 38 neighborhoods were identified on the island of Cyprus. Only 8 of these neighborhoods have Greek Kethüdas. It can be said that settlements where groups belonging to different religions live in completely separate neighborhoods have never been seen in Nicosia.

During the Ottoman rule, many foundations were established by philanthropists on the island of Cyprus. It is seen in the documents that Muslim women established foundations like men on the island of Cyprus. It is witnessed that he established a foundation to help his monastery, where even non-Muslim women and men worship. An example of the foundations established by Muslim men is the foundation founded by Ebubekir Pasha ibn-i İbrahim, one of the Cyprus taxpayers. The aforementioned foundation was established to bring water to Tuzla township with aqueducts, which are now known as Bekirpaşa aqueducts. In addition to Ebu Bekir Pasha, pashas such as Lala Mustafa Pasha, Cafer Pasha, Abdullah Pasha are just a few of the benefactors who established foundations for the benefit of the people in various parts of the island of Cyprus.

The Ottoman State brought to Cyprus the education and training system that it applied throughout the Empire. The development and functioning of the educational institutions of non-Muslims on the island, as in the rest of the Ottoman country, was freed. All kinds of transactions related to the education of non-Muslims are allowed by the Orthodox Church. Even though the Ottoman administration did not provide financial aid to the Turkish schools established in Cyprus until 1864, financial aid was given to the schools of the non-Muslims established in the Island with the Tanzimat Ferman (1839). During the Ottoman period, the educational institutions of the Muslims (Turks) in Cyprus were Sıbyan schools, Madrasahs and Secondary Schools. The first primary school in Cyprus was the Hagia Sophia (Selimiye) primary school, which was established in Nicosia right after the Ottoman conquest. From 1571 to the British administration in 1878, 29 primary schools were established in various parts of the island of Cyprus.

Madrasahs were opened in Cyprus right after the conquest of the island of Cyprus. Madrasahs in Cyprus were secondary educational institutions. The first madrasa opened in Cyprus and providing education for the longest time is the Büyük Madrasa in Nicosia. Under the Ottoman rule, 10 madrasas were opened in various parts of the island. The first of the secondary school, which was an educational institution providing education in the modern sense during the Ottoman period in Cyprus, was opened in 1860 next to the Hagia Sophia (Selimiye) Mosque in Nicosia. After the first high school opened in Nicosia, many high schools, numbering 22, were opened in different settlements of Cyprus. In 1878, when the British administration began on the island of Cyprus, there were 83 Christian schools against 65 Muslim (Turkish) schools throughout the island of Cyprus.

As in every country, slaves constitute the lowest class of society in the Ottoman Empire. It is understood from the sources that it was very common to buy and keep male and female slaves since the first years of Ottoman rule in Cyprus. XVI. At the end of the century, the ports of Cyprus, especially the port of Famagusta, were located on one of the busiest slave routes of the Empire. Many male and female slaves belonging to various nationalities from Africa, the Caucasus and the Balkans were brought to the Island.

Although it is known that the right to own slaves was granted to Muslims in the Ottoman Empire, it is seen that non-Muslims could also own slaves in Cyprus, unlike this view in some periods. Black slaves constitute the majority of the slaves on the island of Cyprus. Besides the black slaves, Rusti (Russian), Persian, Georgian and Egyptian slaves belonging to various nationalities are also encountered in the documents.

The island of Cyprus has been exposed to droughts, epidemics, earthquakes, and locust and mouse invasions in different periods of history. Plague, malaria and cholera were the leading epidemic diseases that deeply affected Cyprus. It is known that the epidemic that affected Cyprus the most throughout its history is the plague. Plague, XIII. from the middle of the XVII century. It was very effective in Cyprus until the end of the century. This disease, which is sometimes very common and severe, has caused the island’s population to decrease by half. During the plague epidemic that occurred in 1692, 2/3 of the people living on the island of Cyprus died. One third of the people living in Nicosia died from the plague that occurred in 1835. It has been reported that while the plague epidemics lasted for 4 years in Istanbul, this period lasted for 1.37 years in Southern Anatolia and 1.5 years in the island of Cyprus. With the pressure of the consuls on the island of Cyprus, a kind of quarantine was tried to be implemented. Foreigners who came to port cities such as Famagusta to prevent the plague from coming to the island were kept in the port for 40 days. A full quarantine organization on the island of Cyprus, as in the rest of the empire, could only be established in the 1840s.

Malaria is especially effective in the island of Cyprus in summer and early autumn. In Cyprus, it was almost impossible to get rid of malaria in the years when the rains were plentiful. Sources of malaria XIV. They mention that he came to the island, especially to the city of Famagusta, at the end of the century. It is mentioned that the cities where malaria is most common on the island are Famagusta, Tuzla and Limassol. In addition, malaria was seen in the Mesarya region during periods of heavy rainfall. Cities such as Nicosia and Kyrenia were largely protected from malaria due to their geographical location. In order to get rid of malaria, the islanders either left the island or migrated to mountainous regions where malaria could not reach. Many people died from malaria in Tuzla in 1710.

Another epidemic disease affecting the society in Cyprus is cholera. It is understood from the sources that cholera sometimes causes fatal cases, although not as much as the plague. Travelers talk about people who died of cholera in Tuzla district in 1832.

There are several main causes of famine in Cyprus. Among these, we can count the lack of precipitation and the invasions of mice and locusts. The island of Cyprus has a variable climate in terms of its geography, some years being dry and some years rainy. For this reason, the island may receive very little precipitation in some periods. In the island of Cyprus, in times of famine, while the state distributed food and grain grain to the people, the taxes to be paid by the people were reduced and the necessary grain was procured from Southern Anatolia and Syria.

Grasshoppers are the leading pests that cause famine. Grasshoppers damage all kinds of green plants except for the kolakas (tavern) plant on the Island. In some periods, locust invasions could last for years. Between 1839 and 1844, a locust invasion dominated Cyprus for more than five years. Since the locusts traveled from south to north, the island of Cyprus was located on the passageways of the locusts. It is mentioned in the sources that Cyprus met locusts in 1351. At first, it was tried to fight the locusts with religious methods.

It is known that many large and small earthquakes occurred on the island of Cyprus in various years. In the earthquake that occurred in 1734, the Hagia Sophia Mosque (Selimiye) was badly damaged and two thirds of it was destroyed. In that year, the earthquake that occurred in Cyprus caused the death of 200 Turks in the city of Famagusta, while a large part of the city was damaged.

Information that testifies to the fact that some medical studies are carried out for a healthy life on the island of Cyprus are included in the documents. It is learned from the sources that hernia, bladder (urinary bag) and abortion (abortion) surgeries were performed in Cyprus in the period between 1726-50. Throughout the Ottoman period, it is reflected in the registry that the most hernia operations were performed in Cyprus. In 1709, a hernia surgery was done for 12 cents in Cyprus, while the same surgery was done on the island of Crete in 1686 for 7 cents. In 1730, it is mentioned that the price of hernia surgery in Ada was 15 chain gold.


When the Ottoman Empire came to the island, it was seen that the islanders were landless and poor, except for Latin origin nobles and knights. The Ottomans removed some of the heavy taxes collected by the Venetians from Cyprus and reduced others. He later changed the land system so that the Islanders could own land.

Trade and industry on the island of Cyprus also developed with the Ottoman Empire. With the new arrangements made by the Ottoman administrators, these sectors were removed from the monopoly of Latin origin merchants and the islanders were enabled to be active in these areas. Tuzla was added to Famagusta, which was an important trade port during the Latin period, during the Ottoman period. Tuzla became an important export and transit port in the Eastern Mediterranean trade, as the Ottoman Empire allowed consuls to reside only in Tuzla. In addition to the port cities, the capital Nicosia has also become a commercial center as it is the administrative center of the island.

XVIII. In the second quarter of the century, Cyprus became an island where the states of England, France, Denmark, Nederlande, Venice, Sicilyateyn, Analpa, Dubrovnik, Rome (Nemçe) and Sweden traded. Of these, British and French traders were in the majority. While the products that were not generally forbidden to be exported from the island of Cyprus were bought mostly in the form of raw materials, processed goods were brought to the island. It has been pointed out that among these, woolen and cotton fabrics are in the foreground.

One of the measures taken by the Ottoman Empire to encourage trade was to fight the pirates in the Mediterranean and to prevent them from damaging the merchant ships of the western states. The Ottoman Empire, which was determined to prevent the activities of pirates, from time to time sent its navy to the Mediterranean, as well as protecting the navy ships to the ships that brought goods to Istanbul; this time, it was revealed that the captains and levents in the navy were secretly carrying goods for the merchants. Many goods, especially coffee and rice, were transported by ships in the navy.

Various currencies were used in all kinds of shopping transactions made with commercial activities. XVIII. Among the coins used in the 19th century are zolta, Eşref gold, chained Egyptian gold, chained Istanbul mudevver gold, Egyptian gold with monogram, Frankish gold, gold with monogram, hazelnut gold, fulusa, zer-i mahbub, marbas (Nemçe coin), white coin, white coin, There were rotten coin and right coin.

The tradesmen organization, which is an example of the similar organization of social groups with common ideals and interests in the Ottoman society, organized the entire urban population within its own body, except for the soldiers. This organization also has an important place in the economic and commercial life of the city. As far as it is learned from the sources, around 100 craft groups were operating in Cyprus during the Ottoman period. Within the craft group in question, there are habbaz, butcher, celeb, tanner, haffaf, changar, miller, kazzaz, money changer, karcı, blacksmith, etc. countable. When these branches of craft are examined, it is seen that almost all of the non-Muslim and Muslim people on the island work in a mixed manner, and this mixture may not be seen among some tradesmen.

As in the rest of the Ottoman country, tradesmen in Cyprus were producing in the bazaars where their class was dominant. In the 18th century in Nicosia, fishermen, coppersmiths, spinners, bellgars, tanners, blacksmiths, goldsmiths etc. There were markets. In some periods, due to the positive relationship between the branches of tradesmen, production increased, prices decreased and abundance was experienced in the island. After meeting the needs of the island of Cyprus, products such as silk, woolen and cotton fabrics, wine and medicine were exported to Western countries.



After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Ottoman-Russian war of 1877-78 (93 war), the Ayestefanos Peace Treaty (Yeşilköy) was signed. Since the relevant treaty contained very heavy provisions, the states led by England gave a note to the Ottoman and Russian States and had the Berlin Treaty signed instead of the said treaty. At the Berlin conference, it was decided to leave the administration of the island of Cyprus to the UK. Britain, citing the Russian threat in the East, convinced the Ottoman Empire to give it a military base. According to the treaty, if Russia withdrew from Kars, Ardahan and Batum, which it occupied in the East, England would evacuate the island of Cyprus. Thus, starting from 1878, the island of Cyprus was leased to England and the British dominance in Cyprus, which would last until 1960, began. The said negative situation deeply affected the Turkish Cypriots. Therefore, when Cyprus came under British rule, some Turkish Cypriots left the island and migrated to Turkey.

England, which ruled the island until 1914, with the property of the Ottoman Empire, declared that it annexed the island of Cyprus because the Ottoman Empire entered the World War I on 5 November 1914 against England.

In 1915, England offered the island to Greece on the condition that it would join the war on its side. However, Greece, who thinks that Germany will win the war, does not accept this offer. Despite the fact that the Greek government was involved in the war in favor of England towards the end of World War I, England gave up giving the island to Greece. In the meantime, in the relevant period, despite the Enosisist activities of the Greek Cypriots, the Turkish Cypriots were also working towards the return of the Island to Turkey.

In the Lausanne Peace Treaty signed on July 24, 1923, the GNAT government accepted that the island belonged to England. Turks on the island are given the right to determine their future (Hakk-ı Hıyar). Turkish Cypriots will either stay on the Island and be stripped of their Turkish citizenship or migrate to Turkey. As it is understood from the documents, the option of emigration given to Turkish Cypriots in the Lausanne Peace Treaty was used by some Turkish Cypriots. Based on the Treaty of Lausanne between 1924 and 1927, around 5000 Turkish Cypriots migrated to Turkey from the island. Thus, the deterioration in the population balance that started in 1878 continued in 1914; Finally, with the Treaty of Lausanne, it has become a grave situation for Turkish Cypriots.

With the Treaty of Lausanne, England officially owns the island, and on March 10, 1925, the island is declared a “crown colony” of England. With the establishment of the crown colony on the Island, the High Commissioner, who serves as the highest administrator on the Island, is appointed as the governor. The crown colony established on the island of Cyprus in 1925 will continue until the Republic of Cyprus established in 1960.

In 1931, a major rebellion attempt occurred by the Greek Cypriots against the British administration on the Island. As a result of this rebellion, both communities on the island are put under pressure. A state of martial law ensues, which will last for approximately 10 years. II. Developments during World War II caused England to ease the martial law on the Island. Social mobility leads to political softening on the Island, where all kinds of political activities have been banned since the 1931 uprising. The British administration decided to hold elections for local governments in 1941 and allowed political activities for this purpose. As a result, various parties (KATAK, AKEL etc.) were established between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in the relevant period.

In the 1950s, Greek Cypriots made diplomatic attempts to realize Enosis with the support of Greece, and on January 15, 1950, the Greek Orthodox Church held a plebiscite on the annexation of the island by Greece.

When these attempts could not get the results they wanted, this time, in order to realize Enosis with weapons, in 1955, the Greek Cypriots established the underground organization EOKA in cooperation with Greece.

The Greek Cypriot terrorist organization EOKA was involved in violence and brought ENOSIS to the fore for the annexation of Cyprus to Greece. The Greek Cypriots’ request for ENOSIS was rejected by the Turkish Cypriots, who opposed the idea of the island’s annexation to Greece.

In order to fight against EOKA, Turkish Cypriots established the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT) on 1 August 1958 with the support of Turkey.

By 1959, the situation on the island had become unbearable for the United Kingdom as well. A consensus was reached with the London and Zurich Treaties in 1959 and in 1960 the Republic of Cyprus was established as a bi-national state based on the partnership of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. With this compromise, the island was able to gain its independence and at the same time, the United Kingdom was able to obtain two military sovereign bases.



The 1960 Republic, as a bi-communal Partnership State, recognized the political equality of the Island, the Turkish and Greek Cypriot peoples, as the Founding Partners of the new Republic. The Constitution of the 1960 Republic of Cyprus was originally designed for a functional Federation. Social functions such as births, deaths, marriages, schools, football clubs, garbage collection and Municipal taxes were performed separately by the local administrations of each community. At the international level, the only legal identity of the 1960 Republic of Cyprus was in question and it became a member of the UN.

Unfortunately, the 1960 Partnership Republic lasted only three short years. The Akritas Plan, which envisages the annexation of the island to Greece and published as a UN document (A/33/115), was not abandoned by the Greeks. Therefore, Greek Cypriots proposed constitutional amendments that would reduce them from equal partner status to a minority for Turkish Cypriots.

The conflict over the Constitution and other bi-communal issues led to the tragic events of 1963, when many Turkish Cypriot civilians lost their lives. At this point, the Greek Cypriots usurped the 1960 Partnership Republic at gunpoint, excluded the Turkish Cypriots from all state organs and unilaterally changed the basic provisions of the Constitution in violation of the Constitution.

As a result of this, the physical separation of the population in the capital Nicosia was determined by the Green Line. The prevailing bi-communal conflict required the UN to send a UN Peacekeeping Force to Cyprus in March 1964. Turkish Cypriots, who survived the Greek Cypriot attacks, had to take shelter in small settlements corresponding to 3% of the island’s surface area.

Since 1963, there has not been a common central administration on the island to represent the whole of Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have governed themselves separately since 1963, although the Greek Cypriot side claims to be the “Government of Cyprus”. Since their exclusion from the 1960 Partnership Republic, Turkish Cypriots have established a number of administrative mechanisms to govern themselves and regulate the daily functions of their people. First, they established the General Committee, which served until 27 December 1967. Subsequently, a new administration was established under the name of the precautionary Turkish Cypriot Administration. Later, on December 21, 1971, the Turkish Cypriots removed the word “precautionary” and named their administration as the Turkish Cypriot Administration. For Turkish Cypriots, the period between 1963 and 1974 was a period of poverty, isolation, transportation difficulties, fear and insecurity.

On July 15, 1974, with the aim of immediate implementation of ENOSIS, the junta in Greece carried out a coup in Cyprus in cooperation with the Greek Cypriot EOKA elements. In the face of the danger of further bloodshed on the island, Turkey intervened militarily based on Article 4 of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. Turkey’s intervention not only prevented further violence and loss of life on the Island, but also prevented the Island’s annexation to Greece.

Even Archbishop Makarios recorded in his speech to the Security Council on 19 July 1974 that the coup was organized by the military regime in Athens and was carried out by Greek officers serving in the Greek National Guard. Makarios stated that the event organized by Greece in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 did not constitute a revolution, but an invasion that violated the independence and sovereignty of the Republic.

Turkish Cypriots in the south were transferred to the north and Greek Cypriots in the north were transferred to the south with the help of the UN, with the Population Exchange Agreement agreed upon in the intercommunal talks held in Vienna on 2 August 1975.

Turkey’s intervention expanded the Green Line and defined the bi-sectional character of the island by drawing the current border, and the bi-sectional character of the agreement, which was envisaged by providing the regional grouping of the populations with the Population Exchange Agreement. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was established on November 15, 1983.


Language and Currency in North Cyprus

You can communicate easily in North Cyprus . The official language is Turkish however almost everyone speaks English and a second foreign language as Russian, German , Arabic or Greek. The main currency is the Turkish Lira. However British Pounds, US Dollars and Euro are currently accepted all over the shops.

Education in North Cyprus

Education in North Cyprus is highly appreciated and currently we have total of 18 universities from which 4 of them are foreign universities. We have 1 local vocational high school. Almost all cities have colleges which use the European Standards of Education by teaching Cambridge and Edexcel courses for students aiming in studying abroad.

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