Greeks in Turkey

The Greeks in Turkey (Turkish: Rumlar) constitute a population of Greek and Greek-speaking Eastern Orthodox Christians who mostly live in Istanbul, including its district Princes' Islands, as well as on the two islands of the western entrance to the Dardanelles: Imbros and Tenedos (Turkish: Gökçeada and Bozcaada).

They are the remnants of the estimated 200,000 Greeks who were permitted under the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne to remain in Turkey following the 1923 population exchange, which involved the forcible resettlement of approximately 1.5 million Greeks from Anatolia and East Thrace and of half a million Turks from all of Greece except for Western Thrace. After years of persecution (e.g. the Varlık Vergisi and the Istanbul Pogrom), emigration of ethnic Greeks from the Istanbul region greatly accelerated, reducing the 119.822 -strong Greek minority before the attack to about 7,000 by 1978. The 2008 figures released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry places the current number of Turkish citizens of Greek descent at the 3,000–4,000 mark. However according to the Human Rights Watch the Greek population in Turkey is estimated at 2,500 in 2006. The Greek population in Turkey is collapsing as the community is now far too small to sustain itself demographically, due to emigration, much higher death rates than birth rates and continuing discrimination.

Since 1924, the status of the Greek minority in Turkey has been ambiguous. Beginning in the 1930s, the government instituted repressive policies forcing many Greeks to emigrate. Examples are the labour battalions drafted among non-Muslims during World War I as well as the Fortune Tax (Varlık Vergisi) levied mostly on non-Muslims during the same period. These resulted in financial ruination and death for many Greeks. The exodus was given greater impetus with the Istanbul Pogrom of September 1955 which led to thousands of Greeks fleeing the city, eventually reducing the Greek population to about 7,000 by 1978 and to about 2,500 by 2006.

Read more about Greeks In Turkey:  Name, Demographics

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