The Green Line in Cyprus

The Implications

Following the initial July invasion and during the August advance of Turkish forces to the east and west, a large number of Greek Cypriots abandoned their homes and fled south. A notable exception was several hundred Greek Cypriot residents of Kyrenia & Belapais who were determined to stay.
(Note: The Kyrenia residents were incarcerated in the Dome Hotel)
The same decision was made by very small numbers of Greek Cypriots in other locations. However, a significant Greek Cypriot enclave developed in the Karpas (the 'pan handle') when the peninsula was cut off by Turkish troops thus preventing the Greek Cypriot inhabitants from fleeing to the south.



In areas well away from the fighting and those villages that were close to the Turkish line of advance, the Turkish Cypriots found themselves in a very precarious position, 'floating' in a sea of anti-Turkish sentiment which, at times, was murderous.
A number of Turkish Cypriot villages in the south immediately surrendered, gave up their weapons and were not attacked.
Other villages, who initially refused to give up their weapons, were attacked and quickly overrun by Greek Cypriot forces.
Many of the violent actions recorded against Turkish Cypriot villages were blamed on groups of well armed Greek Cypriot irregulars.
Violent actions against Greek Cypriots in villages that were in the conflict area or left isolated were blamed on Turkish Cypriot militia groups and the Turkish army.

Especially in the Paphos District, some younger Turkish Cypriot villagers fled over the mountains to the occupied north, some fled to the SBAs but many stayed where they were (although their villages were often surrounded with movement severely restricted). Those caught trying to reach the Turkish area were arrested and returned to their village.

Five Turkish Cypriot villages in the Paphos area successfully defended themselves and became important strongholds for Turkish Cypriot Fighters.

Episkopi was the closest SBA and, initially, a large number of Turkish Cypriot refugees congregated in the camp's shopping area known as 'Dodge City'.
A decision was quickly made to set up a camp in the sport fields of 'Happy Valley'.







The growing Turkish Cypriot refugee camp in Episkopi's Happy Valley within the Western Sovereign Base Area (WSBA)
Virtually all the refugees in this camp came from isolated Turkish Cypriot villages located near to the base
Note: A small number of Greek Cypriots who sought the safety of the WSBA were accommodated in a small camp on Curium Beach

Realising that Happy Valley could not sustain the effort of housing so many refugees over a long period, plans had been laid some weeks before for a custom-built camp to be erected at Paramali Station, some 2-3 miles away. On the 5th August 1975, from the peak of 5698 refugees,1500 members of selected villages were moved. The new camp had shower and cooking facilities in addition to field lavatories, a medical centre, tannoy system and police control point.



Eventually, the existing camp in Happy Valley was emptied and all the refugees were moved to Paramali
All the vehicles (buses, trucks, tractors, vans, cars and motorcycles) that had been used by the refugees to reach the safety of the SBA were stored in a compound in Episkopi Camp)


Greek Cypriots from towns and villages in the north fled the fighting and moved south to a number of refugee camps that were set up by the Cyprus Govenment and international aid agencies.
The more fortunate were able to share with relatives who were already living in the south.





This small Greek Cypriot refugee camp was set up in a public space near Nicosia



Other Greek Cypriot refugees camps were much larger............this image is at Kolossi



A Greek Cypriot refugee camp in the Larnaca area



Following the speedy Turkish advance towards Famagusta between 14-16th August, a large number of Greek Cypriot refugees took shelter in Akhna Forest inside the ESBA
The animation shows images of this camp which, at its maximum size, sheltered over 6,000 refugees




The scale of the refugee issue detailed in a US House of Representatives special study report