Greek speaking Muslims

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Secret Christians - Cretans - Pontus Greek Muslims

Spring 1994 - Rumelihisari - photo: Ahu Guler In Turkey, there are two main Greek speaking Muslim ethnic groups: One of them are the Muslim Greek refugees coming from Crete called Cretans. The other group lives near Black Sea, Pontus. The largest group speaking Pontic Greek lives in 5-6 villages in Tonya, Trabzon and in nearly 50 villages at the valley Yukarı Solaklı that is south of Of. And also there are at least two villages established by the emmigrants at Sakarya near Constantinople (Istanbul). The language they speak is a dialect of archaic Cappadocian Greek that is probably not spoken in Turkey now. They are Sunni Muslims, but it is claimed that some of the Pontus Greek Muslims are secret Christians.

There's no satisfactory research made on the Pontus Muslims. They speak Greek and carry on Greek (Roman) traditions but they refuse to be accepted in an ethnic group other than the Turks. They call themsevels Turkos and their language as Romaika. They conside r the real Greeks as a seperate race and call them as O Romeos. Many researches agree on that they are converted to Islam at 1700s. The archaic dialect is still living and spoken fluently by the young generation. Most women can only speak the Pontus Greek. Their population is estimated between 200.000-300.000. But in near future, there's no hope for the language to survive, because of the television and high rate of immigration.

There's no population estimation about the Cretans but I guess their number as 500.000. They live in the villages near Aegean Sea, Mediterenean Sea and Marmara Sea. These villages had generally occupied by the Greeks living in Mikra Asia. After 1922, the Orthodox Greeks in Turkey and the Muslims in Greece were exchanged by the goverments. There are also many Cretan Greeks living in large seaside towns as Izmir(Smyrni), Antalya, Ayvalık. The old generation is still speaking Cretan Greek. Some of them, the old individuals are monolingual. But the young generation can speak only Turkish. The language will dissapear after a few generation.

These two Greek dialects have no chance to live in Mikra Asia for long. As the Greeks are considered to be enemies, speaking Greek language attracts no symphaty. The children are educated in Turkish and nearly every house has a television 24 hour broadcas ting Turkish.

              Source : Internet      Photo - Ahu Güler  - Rumelihisar - Spring 1994



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Last modified: ΦΕΒΡΟΥΑΡΙΟΣ 22,  2021