LOCAL > Turkish public unaware of truth of Imbros: Patriarch

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish public must acknowledge the injustices committed against Anatolian Greeks on Imbros island during the 1960s, Bartholomew says

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Turkish society is not informed about the cruelty that occurred on the island at the time because of limited opportunities for communication, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew says. AA photo

Turkish society is not informed about the cruelty that occurred on the island at the time because of limited opportunities for communication, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew says. AA photo

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

The Turkish public must acknowledge the injustices Greeks on Imbros island (Gökçeada) suffered in the 1960s, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew said Nov. 12 at the launching of a book on the island’s Greek community.

“Imbros could be a bridge between Turkey and Greece, but it was comprehended as a threat by Turkey. With this approach, the Rum [Anatolian Greek] minority, who were engaged in agriculture and raising livestock on the island, were forced to emigrate from there,” the patriarch said.

Turkish society is not informed about the cruelty that occurred on the island at the time because of limited opportunities for communication, he said.

Jail built on island

According to Feryal Tansuğ, a historian at Istanbul’s Bahçeşehir University, who compiled the book “İmroz Rumları, Gökçeada Üzerine” (Rums of Imbros, on Gökçeada), non-Muslims on the island were targeted as part of an official policy that included allowing inmates at a jail built on the island to roam free and harass locals.

“In 1960, there were nearly 6,000 Rums on the island, and the number is only 300 now,” Tansuğ told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

The book represents the first comprehensive academic study written in Turkish on the island’s Greek minority issue.

Imbros, which was officially renamed Gökçeada in 1970 by Turkey, is located in the north Aegean Sea at the entrance of Saros Bay and is also a district of Çanakkale. A large majority of the island’s Greek population has left the island for various reasons since the beginning of the 1960s.

“There is a lack academic study on such an important matter. When we talk about Rums of Turkey only Istanbul, Cappadocia and Pontic Rums are remembered, but Imbros is forgotten and it is a case that cannot be ignored,” Tansuğ said.

Pro-Hellenic name

Tansuğ said she titled the book “Imbros,” a pro-Hellenic name, because the appellation is 5,000 years old and is still used by locals, unlike “Gökçeada,” which was given by the Turkish government in 1970.

The patriarch also expressed hope for the future. “Even if it has a different demography now, we will do our best for Imbros to [make it] an island where people live happily,” he said. k HDN


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11/21/2012 12:53:52 PM

@Peter Kibris why don't you question how many Greeks from Greece live in South Cyprus? Forget wasting your energy with North Cyprus its history, this is now a Turkish Cypriot state under Turkeys protection. No one really cares about what the Greek Cypriots lost, why should we!

Peter Kypros

11/20/2012 8:14:40 PM

@Ertan Selimoğlu All atrocities should be condemned, investigated and people who suffered compensated. The fact that some extremists Greeks killed some innocent Turks in Cyprus something we all condemned does not make Turkey innocent of taking part of Cyprus creating over 200,000 refugees, taking their properties away and giving them to settlers, refusing to investigate the fate of about 1500 civilians taken by the Turkish army and never be released alive or dead. We are talking about now.

Ertan Selimoğlu

11/20/2012 1:22:52 PM

To anyone who says Turks killed greeks and armenian. I wonder you didn't read history books except greek and armenians. Greeks killed Turks in Crete and Balkan areas,in West Anatolia in 1915; Armenians deported Turks in Armenia 1905, and killed in East Anatolia 1 and half million Turks by burning them great ovens, in Hodja Ali few years ago by invaded Karabagh illegally. Besides, in 1890 'years ,they had revolted in Istanbul,Kumkapı, two times in Cyprous,Kıbrıs .You are vandal and killer......

mike alexander

11/20/2012 2:25:04 AM

Lands which were Greek for thousands of years can not be lost because of 400 years ! Especially when Turkey behaves the way she behaves latest !

Peter Kypros

11/19/2012 10:33:38 PM

The truth may be bitter for some but it is the truth. All atrocities should not only be brought up, compensation should follow. Many civilized countries did acknowledge the crimes of their governments or regimes and they did pay compensations. In Cyprus, Turkey spent close to $15 billion to create a problem no solution is found yet. The political cost to Turkey has also been enormous not to mention the loss of life. Turkey bought dearly every inch of land and is still paying. Human paranoia?

illawarrior hill

11/17/2012 3:00:53 PM

If you look through history almost everyone was over-run by someone at some point in time. Such was the way of the world. Does Rome apologise to England & Egypt etc Does England aplogise to all the nations it conquered . Does France apologise to Tahiti and New Caledonia. Spain, Portugal and France also had their conquests. I don't hear Germany apologising to the rest of Europe, nor any apologies from China & Japan to the countries they invaded stop looking backwards and start looking forwards

Peter Lambson

11/14/2012 9:04:22 PM

How does one "move on" or drop the "huge chips on their shoulders" when acknowledgement of the crime by its perpetrators is denied? Patriarch Bartholomeos originated from Imbros and experienced the ethnic cleansing of Imbros Rums and the usurpation of their lands personally; they were Turkish citizens and their status was protected by the Lausanne Treaty. It is incumbent on Turkish society to know this history, if they truly want zero problems with their neighbors.


11/14/2012 5:36:02 PM

Our sins belong to us, meaning the the Republic. I could care less about what Ottomans did to whom etc, but this regime and its sins are ours. I could also care less about what Greeks or Armenians have done, small nations of mostly small and hateful people with huge chips on their shoulders. That is not a reference for the Republic of Turkey. Rums of Imroz and Istanbul were OUR citiziens, OUR people and children of this land. I want them all back home!

mara mcglothin

11/14/2012 3:56:39 PM

We as humans are ALL imperfect. There is no where on the EArth that remains free from some kind of atrocity committed by/for/and or against someone else. Time to move on. I do resent anyone, especially a religious figure bringing this kind of thing up UNLESS it is to apologize for something his religious group has done. It is untimely and seriously doesn't the World have enough urgent business to deal with right now? Perhaps his time would be better spent praying for the Syrian refugees?.

Mark Mark

11/14/2012 3:12:08 PM

@Jim Rebel - and Turks slaughtered Greeks and Armenians in their millions up and down the length and breadth of Anatolia but that does not answer the question of Imbros which was subject to ethnic cleansing in recent living memory. Turkey needs to won up to yet another atrocity it has committed. @Levent - please, do us all a favour and change the record. If you loved Cyprus so much you would live there, instead you live in London
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