Novel written in Greek released after 50 years
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Dositheos Anağnostopulos (L) is seen at a press conference held to promote the novel ‘Displays and Sloopes.’A publishing house set up by a group of Anatolian Greeks has begun publishing in the Greek language in Turkey again after a 50-year interval. “Ertelemeler ve Yokuşlar” (Delays and Slopes), written by a priest and the spokesman of the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Dositheos Anağnostopulos, is one of the Istos Publishing House’s first releases.
Anağnostopulos told the Hürriyet Daily News he was proud to release a book written in Greek after the 50-year hiatus.
Born in Istanbul, Anağnostopulos said he had to leave the city he loves very much and move to Germany in 1968.
“I didn’t want to live in Istanbul as a minority. I hate the word ‘minority.’ I didn’t want to raise my children as a minority in need of tolerance. Fifty years ago, the Greek population in Istanbul was above 100,000,” Anağnostopulos said.
“The community’s cultural life was censored then. It was very difficult for them to publish books, release journals and periodicals and write articles. For the known reasons, the majority of Greeks had to leave Istanbul and thus cultural activities came to an end,” Anağnostopulos said.
Anağnostopulos said the young founders of Istos Publishing House proved that the culture and traditions of Istanbul Greeks are still alive. “I feel pride rather than sorrow. It is not the past, but the future hopes that make life livable.”
‘Written with an Istanbul theme’
Asked if he thought he had fulfilled a historical responsibility by releasing this novel, Anağnostopulos said, “Time will show this. I only feel pleasure for now.” He said “Ertelemeler ve Yokuşlar” was one of four novels he had written with an Istanbul theme. “I love writing, it is a kind of therapy.”
Speaking about the years he spent in Germany, Anağnostopulos said he found himself walking on the streets of Istanbul while writing his novels. He said he felt Istanbul and was saddened by this feeling when writing.
“Sadness is normal in such conditions. But apart from sadness, there are questions such as why and how all this happened. No one, especially politicians, has the right to play with fates of people. If politics moves away from virtue, it may turn into a disaster,” Anağnostopulos said.
Anağnostopulos said he began to think about Istanbul more often after he was retired, and he finally decided to return to the city.
“I was thinking if I could make any contribution to my community and to the city where I was born and grew up. I never cut my ties with Istanbul.” Anağnostopulos said he was blessed as a priest along with his duty at Fener Greek Patriarchate. “Those duties made a clean break in my life.” When asked what today’s Istanbul meant for him when compared to the past, Anağnostopulos said even though Istanbul had a unique beauty, it was not the same as the ‘60s today. “Only a few of my friends remained. My duty in the church makes it all bearable,” Anağnostopulos said.