Greeks organize civil group with new project
Photo shows a view inside the Agia Efimia Greek Orthodox Church in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul. A total of 69 foundations of Turkey-based Greeks come together under the roof of an umbrella organization named RUMVADER. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELBringing together a total of 69 Turkey-based Greek foundations, the Association for the Support of Greek Community Foundations (RUMVADER) is aiming to shed light on the problems of the Greek community living in Turkey.
RUMVADER has come up with a project titled “minority citizens-equal citizens,” which intends to provide support for all minority communities in Turkey, including Greeks. The project, which has a 90,000-Euro budget, is financed by the European Union.
Laki Vingas, who is in charge of minority foundations in the Foundations Directorate General, is among the coordination team of the project. Marina Dyrimatolou, a Greek expatriate living in Istanbul for five years who has an M.A. degree in Turkish Studies from the University of London, is the chief coordinator of the project. Dyrimatolou said the Fener Greek Patriarchate supported the project.
“Apart from issues such as the Halki Seminary, there are other problems related to education, lack of teaching staff, and the administration and organization of the foundations. We want to convey the rights of equal citizens to the Greek community and underline the sense of these rights,” Dyrimatolou said.
For Dyrimatolou, the Greek community is Turkey leads an introverted life, and one of the association’s targets was to break this seclusion and achieve a more active and transparent Greek community. “When we opened up the subject to community members, we got very positive reactions from different sections [of the community]. But still, we know that our work won’t be easy,” she said.
When asked whether Greek society wanted to be independent from the Patriarchate, Dyrimatolou said, “the times are changing and societies are also changing. As the Greek community, we can’t stay out of those changes. We are building up our civil works by preserving our ties with the Patriarchate, our customs and traditions. This association has never intended to form an alternative to the Patriarchate.”
According to Dyrimatolou, the project will also cover Greece citizens living in Turkey, as well as the Greeks of Istanbul origin and other minorities in Turkey. Project events will be held in Istanbul, Bozcaada, Gökçeada, and Hatay, where the most Greeks are populated.