Constantinople’s Greeks, the deportations of 1964, the second huge blow after pogrom of 1955, New York Times

7 Sep

TURKS EXPELLING ISTANBUL GREEKS; Community’s Plight Worsens During Cyprus Crisis

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Aug. 8 —Harassment and deportation of Greek nationals in Istanbul in retaliation for Turkish setbacks on Cyprus was declared today “an open policy” of the Government.

Unless a solution to the strife between Greek and Turkish Cypriotes is found soon, the Greeks here fear that their community, once numerous and prosperous, will be dispersed before winter.

“The pressure on the Istanbul Greeks will be gradual,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Ankara.

Sources close to Premier Ismet Inonu said the Government believed “pressure on Greek nationals” was the only way left to Turkey to force Athens and the Greek‐dominated Cypriote Government to accept a satisfactory compromise.

Istanbul’s Greeks have many Turkish friends who believe the new tactic will prove as ineffective as it is harsh. The consensus among the Greeks themselves is that Turkey is using Cyprus as “an excuse to do what they have long wanted to do—get us out.”

This week 58 more Greeks were added to nearly 1,000 who had been deported on short notice since March.

New lists are expected within a few days, and the 9,000 remaining Greek nationals are sure their days here are numbered. Turkey has canceled, effective Sept. 15, a 1930 agreement under which Greeks have been privileged to live here.

There is fear now in the hearts of 60,000 Turks of Greek descent, They, too, complain of harassment, “tax persecution” and ostracism, although Premier Inonu has declared repeatedly that these minority nationals will not be discriminated against.

In the business districts of Istanbul, many Greek‐owned shops may be seen under padlock. They were closed on Government order or because the owners were summarily ordered from the country. Wives and other dependents are in many cases left destitute.

Every morning large numbers of Greeks crowd into the arcaded foyer of the Greek Consulate to ask help and advice. Some accept an emergency dole provided by the consulate; others are well dressed. Some are old and frail. In their anxiety they talk too loud and argue overheatedly. Some weep.

Most of those deported so far were born in Turkey, according to the consulate, and many had never been to Greece. They have no particular place in Greece to go, and they aay they have no idea what to do when they get there.

Greeks scan the Istanbul newspapers for published lists, fearing they will find their names. When they do, they go to the police to be fingerprinted, photographed and asked to sign deportation statements. They are given a week to leave the country, and police escorts see that they make the deadline.

Families of deportees protest that it is impossible to sell businesses or personal property in so short a time. “Few want to buy from us, and no one wants to pay a fair price,” one victim said. A deportee may take with him only his clothing, 200 Turkish lira (about $22) and his transportation ticket.

At first the Government denied that these deportations had anything to do with the dispute over Cyprus. AU the deportees were charged with “activities harmful to the Turkish state.”

The Greeks have found wry humor in this claim. According to a source close to the consulate, the deportation lists have included the names of six persons long dead. [my emphasis]

There have been 121 deportees more than 70 years old and 20 over the age of 80.

Many charges have been raised against the Greek aliens: smuggling money out of the country, for example, or evading taxes and military duty. The Turkish authorities say the Greeks have invested their wealth abroad and that this has damaged the Turkish economy.

Turkish estimates of Greek wealth here have gone as high as $500 million. But recently this figure has been reduced to $200 million. Greeks say the Turks “reduced their inflated estimates when they realized that someday they might have to settle for properties taken from us.”

They blame Turkey for not having offered better investment opportunities.

In addition to abrogating the 1930 agreement on residence, trade and shipping privileges, Ankara has suspended a 1955 agreement granting unrestricted travel facilities to nationals of both countries. A number of Greeks caught outside Turkey when this suspension took effect are reported to be unable to return.

More seriously, Ankara recently decided to enforce strictly a long‐overlooked law barring Greek nationals from 30 professions and occupations. They cannot, for example, be doctors, nurses, architects, shoemakers, tailors, plumbers, cabaret singers, ironsmiths, cooks or tourist guides.


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One Response to “Constantinople’s Greeks, the deportations of 1964, the second huge blow after pogrom of 1955, New York Times”


  1. “Constantinople’s Greeks, the deportations of 1964…” p.s. | Jadde-ye-Kabir - September 7, 2020

    […] but rather to kind of sloppily categorize them through the American immigrant narrative. In this Time’s article it comes out in terms and references like: “Turks of Greek descent” or “many of […]

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