Turkey FM Davutoğlu’s historical meeting with Imroz people in Athens
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
A Greek school in Gökçeada was reopened after almost 50 years. DHA PhotoThe opening of more Greek schools, as well as property returning issues were on the table during the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “Gökçeada meeting” in Athens.
Davutoğlu met with members of the Greek community who are living in Gökçeada on Dec. 13 during his formal visit to Greece.
Greeks from Gökçeada, known as Imroz in Greek, who were deported from Turkey to Greece on 1964 because of the political tension between both countries, welcomed the historic meeting.
The Imroz Association President Paris Asanakis told Hurriyet Daily News it was the first meeting on a ministerial level to the community.
Asanakis welcomed the recent reopening of a school in Gökçeada and said more could be on the way.
“The reopening of one of the island’s Greek schools, which were closed down in 1964, was a positive step,” he said. “The two other four grade school levels may reopen next year and the full range of Greek minority education may be available to their children of all [Imroz] families wishing to return.”
The total number of “Imroz Greeks” are 25,000 worldwide, including those who are in Turkey. Asanakis said citizenship issues were also on the agenda.
“Those who were deported lost their Turkish citizenship rights,” he said, adding Davutoğlu invited them to apply to take their citizenship back.
Asanakis said legal steps are not enough and they also need support from the Turkish society to return to the island.
“There is no future for us in Turkey unless and until Turkish society embraces us, so that we may go hand-in-hand for a common, better future,” he said, adding they were seriously concerned about the murder of a woman on the island in May.