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Turkish-Cypriot People: Historical Origins

The Firman (decree) of Sultan Selim II on Conquest of Cyprus - dated 21 September 1571

Sultan Selim II's firman (decree) on the conquest of Cyprus, dated 21 September 1571

The following is a summarised text of the Sultan Selim II’s Firman (decree) dated 21st September 1571, ordering the Governors of Western Central, and Eastern Anatolia and Karaman to make immediate arrange- ments for the transport of twenty thousand Turkish families to Cyprus for settlement. The original document is reproduced above.

The first settlers who arrived in the island after the issue of this Firman numbered about twenty thousand, but this figure did not include the permanent garrison, whose official strength was 2,000 infantry and 2,666 cavalry, and who were already stationed in the island after the conquest. In consequence, when in 1571, settled Turkish community first came into existence in Cyprus, its members were of Turkish origins. However, there were also few converts into Islam from the locals as well as from the Latin Catholic people.

Text of the Firman (decree)
In a report I received from Lala Mustafa Pasha, the Governor of Cyprus, it is stated that during the war which lasted three years, many parts of the island were destroyed, and a new ambitious plan is necessary to re- activate the economy and use the natural resources of the island to their utmost. Therefore, I have ordered a plan to be drawn up immediately, and have given instructions to the Governor-General (Lala Mustafa Pasha) to utilize every possible source to develop the country, and to cultivate the fields, vineyards, and farms.

Subsidy and encouragement should be given to the new settlers, especially in the agricultural sector. In addition, the labour force should be expanded to cultivate adequately the fields, farms, and vineyards in the island. Instructions have also been given to the authorities in charge of the settlement programme to see that, among the interested citizens who want to settle in the island, professionals such as craftsmen and traders, shoe-makers, boot-makers, tailors, skull-cap makers, weavers, sack-weavers, wool carders, silk dyers and manufacturers, cooks, soup-makers, candle- stick-makers, saddlers, farriers, grocers, tanners, carpenters, master builders, stone-cutters, goldsmiths, and coppersmiths should be included, and all settlers should be allowed to take their personal belongings and professional equipment.

They should also be encouraged to take their sheep, goats, and farming equipment, and other essential material that will be required to continue their normal life. The immovable properties and lands owned by citizens emigrating to the island should be entrusted to their local authorities, and their respective owners should be compensated in kind. They should also be paid pocket-money subsidies and other allowances, together with their personal travelling expenses. The emigrants who are willing to go to the island should be asked to register their names and professions with the authorities, and after completing the formalities required, should report to the port of Silifke for subsequent travel to reach their destination in Cyprus before the autumn of 1572.

They should also be given expatriate allowance and certain additional privileges such as tax exemptions. Specific instructions have also been given to the authorities that the officials dealing with the emigration formalities should give every possible assistance to the emigrants wishing to go to Cyprus, and accelerate the operation of settlement to see that no complaints arise whatsoever.

Selim II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Ottoman Nicosia

From: The North Cyprus Almanack, (1985), K.Rustem & Bro. Publishers, London.
Related links
Origins of the Turkish-Cypriot People
Kıbrıs Türkçesi - Cypriot Turkish language
Evkaf - Cyprus Muslim Pious Foundation (est. 1571)

Popular Customs
        Turkish-Cypriot Handicrafts
        Turkish-Cypriot Cuisine - A Taste of Mediterranean
Turkish-Cypriot Women
        Alternative lifestyles

        Kıbrıs Türkçesi - Cypriot Turkish language
        Turkish-Cypriot Idioms (Deyimler) 
Education System in North Cyprus 

Turkish Cypriot Cuisine



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