in 1928 in Athens)
the years after World War I, many Greeks
living in Istanbul (Constantinople) were forced to take refuge in
several regions in Greece including Athens.
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.
World War II the Society building facility was commandeered by occupation forces
and the activities of the Society were suspended.
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.
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
1981 the Society was awarded a prize by the Academy
of Athens for its long standing activities.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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
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.
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.
does the Constantinopolitan Society claim?
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:
Turkey respect the human and minority rights of the present, small in
number, Greek community left in Istanbul.
Turkish authorities safeguard the physical security of the Minority;
Turkish authorities preserve the enormous Greek
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.
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.