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THE CONSTANTINOPOLITAN SOCIETY

(established in 1928 in Athens)

Following the years after World War I, many Greeks living in Istanbul (Constantinople) were forced to take refuge in several regions in Greece including Athens.

The refugees who came to Athens established The Constantinopolitan Society (1928) with the purpose to organize themselves socially, to preserve and maintain their local customs and traditions, and their long-living intellectual and cultural heritage as well as aid the poor and needy.

During World War II the Society building facility was commandeered by occupation forces and the activities of the Society were suspended.

After the war, the Society re-convened operations (1948) with the same fortitude and success always following the same ideals. Meanwhile the pressure of Turkey on the Greek minority in Istanbul continued. In September 1955 the notorious vandalism and pogroms were organized with burnings and destructions of houses, shops, churches and cemeteries, with rapings and murders. All these conveyed the message to the Greeks that leading a peaceful life in Turkey was no longer possible.  

Στα 1950 - Όταν τα νερά του Βοσπόρου παγώνουν....

Στα 1950 - Το θρυλικό τραμβάϊ......

Στα 1950 - Θέα του Βοσπόρου από την MACKA..Στο βάθος το γήπεδο Mithatpasa ή Dolmabahce.

Στα 1950 -  Η γέφυρα του Γαλατά.

Στα 1950 - Το Καράκιοϊ

Στα 1950 - Ο Τοπχανάς

In 1963 the expulsion of 12.000 Greeks from Turkey compelled them to take refuge in Greece along with relatives three times their number. Thus, between 1964–1966, about 48.000 Greeks left their fatherland. The new refugee-emigrants naturally faced problems of food and, shelter, pensioning and recreation, the responsibilities of which again were undertaken the Constantinopolitan Society.

In 1981 the Society was awarded a prize by the Academy of Athens for its long standing activities.

The Society made its first appearance on the international arena in 1982 with a hearing in the European Council. In 1988 it organized a permanent department to act against Turkish arbitrary actions or violations of Greek minority rights, and to conduct campaigns in order to notify international public opinion.

In 1990 the Society, as a non-governmental organization, participated in the CSCE (held in Geneva in July and in Moscow in September) where they informed state delegates about the manipulations of the Turkish government against the Greek Minority in Istanbul.

In 1992, with contribution and assistance from the Society, the international organization Helsinki Watch issued a report on the tragic situation of the remaining Greeks in Istanbul under the title “Denying Human Rights & Ethnic Identity – The Greeks of Turkey”.

At the same time the Society circulated a video cassette with the title "How to Banish a Minority” where they proved this systematic effort of ethnic cleansing of the Turkish Government. In the same year 1992 the Society participated again in CSCE held in Helsinki.

In 1994, spokesmen of the Society travel to New York, meet delegates of the Security Council in the United Nations to whom they relate the systematic vandalisms the Greek minority suffers, the discriminations in educational matters, restrictions on religious freedom, limitations on the right to control their legally owned charitable institutions and personal real estate, denial of ethnic identity as well as the pressure and harassment exerted on the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

In October 1995 the Society is represented in CSCE-OSCE in Warsaw where in the presence of 52 delegates of state members they expose the abuses taking place in the remaining Greek Minority in Turkey.

Heading towards the 21st century the Constantinopolitan Society, faithful to the human values and the minority rights that stem from international treaties makes a vow to protect the fundamental rights of those few Greeks who still remain in Istanbul, to salvage their cultural heritage which is systematically altered and destroyed by the Turks and to defend the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a Christian institution that has survived for many centuries through suffering but nevertheless continues its universal mission.

What does the Constantinopolitan Society claim?

The Constantinopolitan Society, representing over 100,000 Greeks who were expatriated from Istanbul by Turkish coercion, expect assistance and support from the European Union, so that:

1.     Turkey respect the human and minority rights of the present, small in number, Greek community left in Istanbul.

2.     Turkish authorities safeguard the physical security of the Minority;

3.     Turkish authorities preserve the enormous Greek cultural heritage.

4.     The Turkish Government ensure that the Greek Μinority, manage and control its schools, including the appointment of teachers, curriculum and books and the repair and maintenance of school buildings.

5.     The Turkish Government ensure the continued maintenance and free functioning of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and permit the re-opening of the Halki Patriarchal School of Divinity.

 

 

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Last modified: JUNE 20,  2013