Greeks in Turkey on the Verge of Extinction

Hits: 1594

The current Greek population in Turkey is estimated at fewer than 2,000.  But this population decline was not due to natural causes; the Greek community has become nearly extinct due to many state-sponsored attacks and pressure.

The largest attacks took place during the last years of the Ottoman Empire with pogroms and discrimination continuing until the present day.

In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) announced that “the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.”

The destruction of Greek heritage and institutions, including schools, continued after the Turkish republic was established in 1923. One tool to annihilate non-Turkish communities including Greeks was the so-called “Liberation Courts” that were set up in many Turkish cities.

“These courts,” writes the author Raffi Bedrosyan, “passed arbitrary decisions that almost invariably resulted in death sentences, with no defense or appeals allowed, and hangings carried out immediately. Among the victims of these courts were hundreds of Greek teachers in the American and Greek schools of the region, prominent community leaders, clergymen, and, tragically, entire members of the Merzifon Greek high school football team, only because the team was named Pontus Club, which was deemed sufficient reason to label them a rebel terrorist organization.”

Beginning on September 6, 1955, everything belonging to Greeks in Istanbul – homes, schools, offices, businesses, churches, cemeteries − was attacked by Muslim Turks. This pogrom greatly escalated Greek emigration from Turkey.

Nine years later came the forced Greek expulsions. In 1964, as a result of tensions over Cyprus, Turkey broke its agreement with Greece and prohibited all commercial dealings by Greeks holding a Greek passport, leading thereby to the departure of at least 45,000 Greeks.

In 1992 Helsinki Watch noted that “the Greeks were not allowed to sell their houses or property or to take money from their bank accounts.’’ They were forced to leave their birthplaces only with personal items weighing 20 kilos and money amounting to 20 dollars. According to the researcher Salih Erturan, the 1964 expulsion brought an end to Greeks of Istanbul.

Turkey’s Greek-speaking Orthodox citizens still cannot freely obtain education in their institutions. The Halki seminary in Istanbul, or the Theological School of Halki, the main theological school of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, was closed down by the Turkish state in 1971 and has not been reopened.

In addition, the Turkish government does not recognize the “Ecumenical” status of the Patriarch and Patriarchate, the spiritual center of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic of Yale Law School wrote in its legal analysis:

“Centuries of Turkish discrimination against and persecution of the Patriarchate and the Orthodox minority have been well documented… Turkey’s treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox minority violates its obligations under international human rights law.”

The Turkish government has also confiscated much of the real estate belonging to Greek Orthodox Christians. “Many properties have been lost over the past few decades, such as office buildings, orphanages and other institutions,” said Walter Flick, a religious expert with the International Society for Human Rights in Germany, speaking to Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster.

The Buyuk Akinti Burnu Greek primary school in the Arnavutkoy district of Istanbul, for example, was restored and reopened in 2011 by the Bogazici University Alumni Association (BUMED) − but not as a Greek school. It was reopened as a Turkish kindergarten. The Greek primary school had been established in 1902 when there were still sizeable Greek communities in what was then called Constantinople, but was closed in 2009 due to a lack of Greek students, reported the Turkish Dogan News Agency (DHA).

In 2016, only 19 Greek students graduated from three Greek schools in Turkey, reported the weekly newspaper Agos.  Yannis Demircioglu, the principal of the Greek Zografyan High School, said that for the last 21 years, “the number of graduates has been ranging between 19 and 27 every year.”

In the 1926-27 school year, there were 58 schools belonging to the Greek community in Turkey with 7213 students, 352 teachers and 222 administrators. Only five have survived, according to Demircioglu.

“The real problem is that we have a limited number of students,” the former representative of Minority Foundations, Laki Vingas, said.

“Founded in 1454, Fener Greek High School is one of the oldest education institutions in Europe, but it has fewer than 50 students now. This troubles the administration. It is the same with Zapyon and Zografyan… These schools are centuries old and the last remaining Greek communal institutions.

“Their situation is alarming. Istanbul was once a leading city in terms of education, not only for local Greek culture there, but also for Greek communities in all of Anatolia, Greece, and Balkans. This is a huge decline, and we are struggling to keep the schools open. This is the most worrisome issue for me.”

From Greek Asia Minor to 21st Century Turkey with a Dying Greek Community

Before Turks arrived in Asia Minor from Central Asia in the eleventh century, the indigenous population of the region spoke and wrote in Greek and was Greek Orthodox. Even the names of the region come from the Greek language such as “Anatolia” (from the Greek “Anatole,” “east” or “sunrise”) and “Asia Minor” (from the Greek “Mikra Asia,” little Asia).

However, the Greek cultural heritage in Turkey is on the verge of disappearing forever.  Turkey is 99.8% Muslim today. As the researcher Tania Karas wrote, “One thousand, seven hundred Greeks left in a nation of 79 million… A century of oppression has nearly wiped out a religious minority group with historic ties to the region.”

The Republican People’s Party (CHP), which established the Turkish Republic in 1923 and ruled ‎until 1950, stated in its 1946 report on minorities that its aim was to leave no Greek in ‎Istanbul until the 500th anniversary of the 1453 “conquest” of Istanbul (1953).

It seems that their “dream” is about to come true.


Originally published on 2017-02-15

About the author: Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist formerly based in Ankara. She is presently in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/uzayb

Source: Clarion Project

Note by Vladislav B. Sotirovic:

Between the years 1914-1923 the Ottoman Empire instigated a violent campaign of persecution against its ethnic Greek minority. By 1923, upwards of 1 million Ottoman Greeks were victims to one of the first genocides of the 20th century. This campaign is known as the Greek Genocide. Visit: www.greek-genocide.net

Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
Is Washington the Most Corrupt Government in History?
Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI who is working as a special prosecutor “investigating” a contrived hoax designed by the military/security complex and the DNC to destroy the Trump presidency, has yet to produce a scrap of evidence that Russiagate is anything but orchestrated fake news. As William Binney and other top experts have said, if there is evidence of Russiagate, the NSA would have it. No investigation would be necessary. So where is the evidence?It is a revelation of how corrupt Washington is that a fake scandal is being investigated while a real scandal is not. The ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: Home to Many ISIS Recruits
For all the attention paid to the emergence of homegrown Islamist terrorists in Belgium, France and other European countries, one of the continent’s biggest radicalization problems is taking place on its fringes.Kosovo, the tiny Muslim-majority Balkan nation of just 1.8 million, has produced more foreign fighters per capita than any other Western nation since ISIS declared its now-defunct caliphate in 2014. Some 413 Kosovo citizens, including women and children, have joined that group and other Islamist extremist factions since the war in Syria began in 2012.As it attempts to join the European Union, Kosovo has been under pressure to stamp ...
READ MORE
Syria: Should Turkey Trust the U.S. Gangsters?
Last week, the Turkish Armed Forces entered Afrin in Syria’s Aleppo. According to the Syria-based Kurdish Hawar News Agency, Turkey also intends to deploy troops near the Raju area and place its armored vehicles there.Many Syrian experts believe that Ankara cooperates with the U.S.-backed Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki. Earlier, Spokesman of the armed opposition group Abdulsalam Adbulrazaq reported that Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki had reached an agreement with the Turkish troops over the deployment of Turkish soldiers at monitoring positions in Western Aleppo.According to preliminary estimates, Turkey will provide opposition militants with all necessary weapons, and Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki ...
READ MORE
Israel: The Nuclear Hegemon That Poses a Potential Threat to Europe
It is calculated that in addition to the secret arsenal of up to 400 nuclear warheads, according to American Scientists, the Israeli state also reportedly possesses chemical and/or biological WMD, making it a dangerous nuclear hegemon that poses a potential threat not only to the Middle East but also to Europe.  Neither France nor Britain nor Germany can equal Israeli state nuclear weaponisation on both land and sea.This calculation is based on the fact that the state of Israel is the only WMD state to refuse to be a party to either the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) or the Biological ...
READ MORE
Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?
Up to June 1967, a border separated Jews living in Israel and Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza. The Six Day War, which occurred exactly fifty years ago, erased that line. Israel has been occupying these territories ever since. This has been the source of an endless conflict between Jews and Arabs. Who started that war? Having won the war, Israel set out to give an answer to that question which would suit its needs.To cement its hold over the new territories Israel had sought to mold the story of the Six Day. The attempt to frame the ...
READ MORE
A Government of Morons and War Criminals
It has become embarrassing to be an American. Our country has had four war criminal presidents in succession. Clinton twice launched military attacks on Serbia, ordering NATO to bomb the former Yugoslavia twice, both in 1995 and in 1999, so that gives Bill two war crimes. George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and attacked provinces of Pakistan and Yemen from the air. That comes to four war crimes for Bush. Obama used NATO to destroy Libya and sent mercenaries to destroy Syria, thereby committing two war crimes. Trump attacked Syria with US forces, thereby becoming a war criminal early ...
READ MORE
Iran 1953: State Department Finally Releases Updated Official History of Mosaddeq Coup
The State Department today released a long-awaited “retrospective” volume of declassified U.S. government documents on the 1953 coup in Iran, including records describing planning and implementation of the covert operation. The publication is the culmination of decades of internal debates and public controversy after a previous official collection omitted all references to the role of American and British intelligence in the ouster of Iran’s then-prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq. The volume is part of the Department’s venerable Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series. For decades, neither the U.S. nor the British governments would acknowledge their part in Mosaddeq’s overthrow, even ...
READ MORE
The Origin of Jihadism
The origin of jihadism is prohibited from being reported truthfully — this truth is prohibited by all of the Establishment ‘press,’  including almost all ‘alternative news’ sites — in the West, because it challenges all of the “sensitive” buttons (all of the bigotries, to put the matter in plain terms); and, though this fact (the Establishment’s bigotries, and its hypocrisy to preserve and protect their bigotries even while condemning those of other people) will prevent almost all of the news-media that I send this to from publishing it, nothing prevents me from writing it; so, here it is (in whatever ...
READ MORE
Inside Kosovo’s Islamist Cauldron
Kacanik, KOSOVO – A plume of smoke hangs over our table in the corner of a dark, shabby café in this rugged town in southern Kosovo. The lanky 19-year-old sitting next to me is chain-smoking through half a pack of L&Ms, his hands trembling as he recalls how he joined one of the world's most brutal militant Islamist groups.Through his neatly trimmed beard, Adem, who asks me not to use his real name for fear of arrest, says he had never even left Kosovo. But two years ago, he found himself on the perilous and far-off Turkey-Syria border -- a ...
READ MORE
Why the US Supports Kosovo Independence?
BELGRADE – Amnesty of crimes during NATO aggression, bilateral legalization of Camp Bondsteel in a friendly milieu, settling the Islamic world with support to their communities in the Balkans and forcing Russia out of that same Balkans, are four reasons the US supports the independence of Kosovo, writes “Sputnik”.On Christmas (according to Gregorian calendar) Michael Kirby shows up. Outgoing US Ambassador congratulates Serbia upcoming New Year. “The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina implies Kosovo’s membership in the UN,” was the content of the “greeting card”.Apart from some kind of formalization, Kirby’s statement is not new for the local public ...
READ MORE
On the Centenary of the Greek Genocide
Hannibal Travis, "On The Centenary of The Greek Genocide", AHIF Policy Journal, American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc., Vol. 8, Spring 2017, pp. 14 Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Parents of Albanian ISIS ‘Martyrs’ Abandoned to Grief
Selim Demolli gripped the table with his hands, and his lip trembled with anger as he spoke. The previous day he had talked to an imam about his son, who was killed three years ago in Syria. He asked the imam for a religious explanation about what happens to a dead person whose parents have not forgiven him. The answer was hard to take. “He is not a shahid [martyr]. Those who did not get a blessing from their father cannot rest in peace. The imam even told me so. They are called ‘cursed’,” Demolli said. Demolli’s son Burim was killed in October ...
READ MORE
Five Facts About Kosovo the Fakenews Media is Lying to You About
1. Kosovo is not ancient Albanian land Its very name comes from the Serbian word "kos," meaning blackbird. Its Albanian name, "Kosova," means nothing whatsoever. Kosovo was the heartland of medieval Serbian state and the site of the 1389 battle in which both the Serbian prince and the Ottoman sultan died, checking the Turkish expansion into the Balkans for almost 70 years. Ethnic Albanians were settled there by the Ottomans over the intervening centuries, and became a majority due to pogroms and persecution of Serbs - which began under Ottoman rule but continued under Austro-Hungarian occupation in WWI and German/Italian occupation in ...
READ MORE
Crazed Washington Drives the World to the Final War
John Pilger is the kind of well-informed, hard-hitting journalist with gobs of integrity that no longer exists in the Western mainstream media. He has the most distinguished career of all in the business. In the article below he brings stunning information to one of my own themes–the creation by Washington and its NATO vassals of an artificial reality consisting entirely of propaganda into which Washington has placed the entire Western world and all outside who inspire to be part of it. Westerners live in The Matrix, and the presstitutes keep them there. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and ...
READ MORE
The 1929 Lateran Treaty: B. Mussolini’s Faith-Based Initiative
This Wednesday, February 11 [2009], will mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Lateran Treaty and related agreements, in which Benito Mussolini’s Italy recognized the Vatican as an independent state and showered it with money and other benefits. Mussolini got what he paid for. For well over a thousand years prior to 1929, Popes exercised absolute civil authority over central Italy, a region known as the “Papal States.” Their power was based on a document called the “Donation of Constantine,” in which the 4th century Roman emperor Constantine was supposed to have granted the successors of St. Peter control ...
READ MORE
Are We Headed for a Turkish-American Breakup?
Turkish-US relations have faced many serious stress tests over the past 50 years. The catalyst in overcoming those crises was making strategic considerations, which always underlined the dependence of the two NATO allies on each other, regardless of their differences.These strategic considerations appear to be weakening now, as the regional priorities of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey and the United States no longer overlap, and in many cases conflict with each other.That is certainly the case in Syria, where the two countries are at odds over Washington’s alliance with Syrian Kurdish groups against the Islamic State (IS). Ankara insists these groups are ...
READ MORE
Faith Attaguile, from Encinitas, yells chants with others on the corner of Broadway and Front Street , Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in downtown San Diego, during a protest in opposition of Donald Trump's presidential election victory. (Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)
On April 7, two U.S. Navy battle ships USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at al-Shayrat military airfield in Syria’s Homs province from the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. strikes particularly targeted the main landing strip, aircraft, radio locators, air defense system and fuel stations. The strike was approved by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said that the Syrian Air Force used affiliated al-Shayrat air base to prepare chemical attack on the city of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib.  “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and ...
READ MORE
An Albanian family around 1910
PrefaceKosovo (Serb. Kosovo-Metochia, Alb. Kosova) is a square-shaped province of the Republic of Serbia of 10,877 sq. kilometres that is approximately the size of the USA state of Connecticut. The province is situated in the southern interior of the Balkan Peninsula in South-East Europe.[1] For most of the 20th century-history, this province was part of Serbia like in the Middle Ages but from 1455 to 1912 it was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. After the 1998‒1999 Kosovo War the province is an autonomous territory under the formal administration of the UNO but, in fact, USA’s colony. Officially, the province has ...
READ MORE
Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor
I am an Israeli-American. I was raised in a middle-class academic ‘Liberal Zionist’ household (aligned with the Israeli Labor Party and Meretz), which is an inherent contradiction. Liberal Zionism maintains a belief in universal human rights yet it supports a Zionist ideology that endorses and promotes Israel as a Jewish state – one that has been systematically carrying out a project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people. Since I can remember, my birth town of Jerusalem has been highly segregated. Growing up, I never interacted with Palestinians other than Abed the soft-spoken gardener from Hebron (aka El ...
READ MORE
Trump’s Political Suicide Pushes China, Iran and Russia Closer
The first aspect to consider, following the US attack on Syria, is what Putin, Xi, and Rohani, leaders of the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, and Iran respectively, thought while American Tomahawks were hitting the Syrian air base of Shayrat. The last three years of the Obama presidency highlighted two very different strategies being advanced simultaneously by the US and the nations opposing its imperialistic overreach, principally Russia, China and Iran. The latter have been seeking cooperation, while the US, with its big hammer, has characteristically been on the search for nails to hammer. Yet the management of international ...
READ MORE
Is Washington the Most Corrupt Government in History?
Kosovo: Home to Many ISIS Recruits
Syria: Should Turkey Trust the U.S. Gangsters?
Israel: The Nuclear Hegemon That Poses a Potential Threat to Europe
Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?
A Government of Morons and War Criminals
Iran 1953: State Department Finally Releases Updated Official History of Mosaddeq Coup
The Origin of Jihadism
Inside Kosovo’s Islamist Cauldron
Why the US Supports Kosovo Independence?
On the Centenary of the Greek Genocide
Parents of Albanian ISIS ‘Martyrs’ Abandoned to Grief
Five Facts About Kosovo the Fakenews Media is Lying to You About
Crazed Washington Drives the World to the Final War
The 1929 Lateran Treaty: B. Mussolini’s Faith-Based Initiative
Are We Headed for a Turkish-American Breakup?
Chemical Attack in Idlib – Duplication of Scenario in Eastern Ghouta
Kosovo’s Ethnography
Independence on Nakba Day – Accountability and Healing as an Israeli Aggressor
Trump’s Political Suicide Pushes China, Iran and Russia Closer
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share