People of Kayaköy Goes to Polls
Referendum was held in the world famous touristic and historical site Kayaköy regarding the renaming of Kayaköy. 316 of 546 voters of Kayaköy went to polls for the referendum. 299 said yes for Kayaköy and 13 said yes to “Kayı.” 4 votes are invalid.
Kayaköy, where the Greek and Turks used to live together before the population exchange, had been accepted as the Centre and Village of Greek-Turkish Friendship and Peace by UNESCO and several universities had related projects. Kayaköy is a town which had been founded in the beginning of the 19th century on the mountain side reached a population of 3000 Greeks and named as Levissi or Karmylassos. The houses of Kayaköy had collapsed during the earthquake in1957 and attracts great attention with their museum states. The people of Kayaköy did not want their towns to be renamed. There was great enthusiasm to voting process. Citizens waited in queues.
Fethiye Council had decided for a mini referendum with the thought that the people of Kayaköy would take the best decision regarding the renaming of Kayaköy as “Kayı.” 546 voters of 780 citizens went to polls in Kayaköy. The referendum regarding the renaming of Kayaköy took place at Kayaköy Elementary School between 08.00 a.m. and 05.00 p.m. The people of Kayaköy have decided Kayaköy not to be renamed. The voting went without any problems with the security measurements taken by Village Mukhtar Metin Ekiz and Fethiye Council. 299 people voting on the same poll said the name of Kayaköy to remain the same while 13 citizens voted for the renaming. 4 votes were invalid.
KAYAKÖY NOT TO BE RENAMED
Ömer Kadir Kıryaman (80) from Kayaköy said, “Where did this suggestion of renaming come from? Why do they want to change the name of Kayaköy 80 years later.” Yüksel Yalçıınkaya said, “We came to vote for the renaming of Kayaköy. While the name of Kayaköy did not change for years, why do they want to rename it now as if we do not have more importanst problems in Kayaköy as villagers?” Voters Ayşe Ekiz, Erdal Karaca, Mithat Çolak, Cengiz Ekiz and Ahmet Bilgin also noted, “We are happy with the name Kayaköy. We have no intention to change it.” Mustafa Sabri Kadıoğlu (85), “Whatever the name of our town would be, we used to call it Kayı. Then it became Kaya and remained that way. It does not matter if it is Kayı or Kaya.” Özlem Ekiz who voted for the first time said,”I am voting for a very important referendum. This is the first time I have come to polls. I won’t forget it. The name of our town will still be Kayaköy.”
MUKHTAR EKİZ SAYS 546 PEOPLE VOTE
Kayaköy Mukhtar Metin Ekiz stated that there was great attention to the referendum and reported, “546 voters have come to polls. Fethiye Council called for referendum with the council decision unanimously. The history teacher applied for renaming of Kayaköy as Kayı. Our people go to polls today.”
HOW THE RENAMING DECISION WAS TAKEN
Eren Fehmi Eroğlu, Yoruk Turkmen Researcher and Teacher of Social Studies, had submitted his petition predicting the renaming of Kayaköy as ‘Kayı’ at the ordinary general assembly of Fethiye Council in March. Fethiye Council had decided that the people of Kayaköy would go to polls with the decisions of council membersfrom DP, CHP and AKP unanimously.