Istanbul’s Greeks Demand Citizenship Restoration

greekThe Greek population of Istanbul, which was rather forced to leave Turkey because of the sociopolitical situation, is now asking for its citizenship rights’ restoration, Sunday’s Zaman reported.

Greeks in İstanbul, known as Rums (Turkey’s Greeks), are finally given the chance to actually voice their demands thanks to recent improvements relating the minorities’ rights. Talks have been carried out with government officials through the İstanbul Rums Universal Federation, established in 2005.

The federation, after sending a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressing their problems and demands, also sent a written statement to the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of EU Affairs in September, 2012. The federation’s head, Nikolaos Uzunoğlu, presented a number of suggestions, among which were granting quick Turkish citizenship to people who would like to return, giving them orientation classes in order to help them open up small businesses and learn Turkish.

In the beginning of March, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç highlighted to his government members the importance of improving the lives of minorities in Turkey by expanding their rights, while calling minorities to return to Turkey.

Recently, Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik also made relevant statements in Moscow during an official visit.

According to Sunday’s Zaman’s extended article, Uzunoğlu also underlined that it is highly important for young Greeks to return to Turkey in order to keep their culture alive. That is why in a written statement presented to the government by his federation last year, was included the demand of support and encouragement for young Greeks’ returning.

Apart from the citizenship, the organization demands the return of property seized by members of the Greek minority who had to leave, providing students from EU member nations with the opportunity to enroll in Greek schools in Turkey, handing over the Rum Literary Society library to an İstanbul-based Greek organization, as well as financial and educational support for young Greeks in Turkey.


11 COMMENTS

  1. Legitimate demands. Also Muslims (Turks) should give compensation to all the peoples whose family have been chasen from their lands during this period.

  2. These so-called ‘Rums’ should stay in their own country (Greece) and help it to recover from it’s dismal economy. In Turkey they are viewed with suspision.

  3. Then we should expell every muslims from Thrace.
    After all, there are here because we Greeks have respected our part of the treaty while you Turks have chasen the Orthodox from Constantinoupolis in the 1950s.
    So either you welcome back with compensations the ANATOLIAN Christians that you chasen from their home or you take back the muslims from Thrace.

  4. Because theses guys are Anatolians and the home of Anatolians is Anatolia.

    They just want to go home. That’s all.

    Plus why should theses peoples forced to live abroad while the Turkish-speaking Muslims from Thrace have the right to stay in the Thrace province ?
    Still, I understand the position about some Turks who question their loyalty but here we are speaking about legitimate rights : According to the Lausanne treaty that the Turkish governement SIGNED, theses peoples had the right to stay to Constantinoupolis if in exchange the Muslims living in the Thace province could stay in Greece.
    If you Turks are men and so if you have honour, stay faithful to your words and do your part of the treaty : Welcome back with compensation all the peoples who had the right to stay in western Anatolia and that you have illegally chasen or (2nd possibility) don’t let them come back but take in Turkey all the Turkish-speaking muslims from Thrace.
    After all, why should we Greeks respect our part of the treaty while you don’t respect yours ?

  5. I am with you 1000%. My concern stems from the fact that these people will be used as pawns by the Turks. This should be elevated to an international body that shall oversee and guarantee their protection and rights.

  6. Sensible idea, they deserve citizenship and compensation too. But will Greece compensate the thousands of Turks and Greek Muslims who left Greece to settle in Turkey? How many Greeks were there in Thessaloniki in the 1880s?

  7. Aren’t the Muslims in Greece Muslim Greeks rather than Turks? Why should Turkey take them back? Haven’t they left Greece already to work in Nortern Europe anyway?

  8. Turkey should not allow these people return unless all ethnic Albanians of Chameria that were forced to leave their ancestral homes form the GENOCIDAL Greece, are allowed back with all their rights as European citizens.

  9. Greece MUST allow all ETHNIC Albanians of Chameria to return to their homes. Otherwise this is unfair….Albanians should do the same to so called Greeks in their territories.

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