The private Greek School on the island of Imvros, which now belongs to Turkey, will reopen on Sept. 16, after 49 years, although with only two students for now although more are expected even though they will not be taught in Greek.
The former head of the Imvros Conservation, Aid, Development and Solidarity Association, Stelios Berber, told the newspaper Tafar that, “They are impatiently waiting for the number of students to increase. The opening of the school after 49 years is a very happy fact for us.”
In 1964, there were seven Primary Schools and a High School, with Greek-language classes. After the events in Cyprus the Greek language in education was banned and the Turkish State closed the schools, violating the Treaty of Lausanne and the Greek families decided to leave the island. In the 1960’s there were 5,487 Greeks living there. Now there about 200, mostly elderly.
The agreement for the reopening of the school was achieved after a private meeting between Minister of National Education of Turkey Nabi Avci and Greek Education Minister, Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos, during the Greek government’s official visit to Istanbul. Avci announced that the Ministry accepted the demand to re-open the school for the Greek minority in the same building it was housed.
Tafar, in an article headlined entitled Education in Greek Prohibited on the Island” said despite the decision of the ministry that the use of Greek is still banned in a Greek school, continuing to violate the law. Aykan Erdemir, a Member of Parliament from CHP for Bursa Province (opposition) said he would file a bill to repeal the prohibition.