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Greek Orthodox of Constantinople after the Lausanne Treaty

Author(s) : Benlisoy Foti (12/10/2007)
Translation : Rapti Vasiliki

For citation: Benlisoy Foti, "Greek Orthodox of Constantinople after the Lausanne Treaty",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Constantinople
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=11455>

Ρωμιοί της Κωνσταντινούπολης μετά τη συνθήκη της Λωζάννης (3/31/2011 v.1) Greek Orthodox of Constantinople after the Lausanne Treaty (5/2/2011 v.1) 

1. Introduction

The subject of this text is the institutional organization of Greek Orthodox minority in Constantinople. The rationale of such a theme is based on the study of this specific minority through the minority itself and not in direct relation with the public policies adopted by both the Turkish and the Greek state. Clearly, the international circumstances and the political relations between the two states affected the minority in the past and still do in a catalytic way. However, it is important to investigate how the Greek Orthodox minority organized itself and which were the regulatory factors, its forms of organization and its power centers.

The Treaty of Lausanne formulated a “minority status” for the remaining Orthodox populations in Turkey and thus essentially the Rum (Greek Orthodox) “minority” was constituted.1 In that way an institutional framework of claiming the right to be different was created, that is, a framework of organizing the institutions which ensure the “different” education, the “different” worship and so on, as well as the forms of solidarity arising from these. In this new context, the “new” minority would try to save as much elements as possible from its “imperial” organizational framework and it would make efforts to adjust itself to the new conditions.2

The abolition of the National Mixed Council and the shrinkage of the Patriarchate’s power by the Treaty of Lausanne the religious affairs of the community created a gap in the representation and management of the minority affairs. Meanwhile, Turkey avoided giving a legal status to the minority and the communities. The newly established Turkish Republic was highly skeptical and unwilling to create intermediate/parallel institutions between itself and the minority citizens. Thus, the quite sophisticated organizational framework which the Orthodox community had inherited stood in a vacuum when the Orthodox community was converted into a minority.

The history of the community organization is inextricably linked with the fate of its property’s management. The Turkish authorities did not legally recognize the communities, but the individual foundations, churches and schools. The Turkish authorities treated the various communities as separate religious foundations (vakıfs) and not as a single unit headed by an administrative authority. Thus, the administration and management of communal property was an important question posed at the outset.3

The decade of 1920 was a transitional period during which there were attempts to clarify the status of minority, while measures of Turkification in the economy, education were taking place. The widespread distrust of minorities created an unfavorable climate toward the Greek Orthodox community.4 In 1926, in the framework of reforms which aimed at secularization, Turkey adopted the Civil Code of Switzerland. In its efforts to promote this reform, the government asked the minorities to relinquish their rights as provided in article 42 of the Treaty of Lausanne. According to this article, minorities would settle matters of family and individual law according to their customs and their religion. Essentially this law empowered the religious authority to arrange these issues. Finally, on the 27th of November 1925 the general assembly consisting of elected and non-elected representatives of the Greek Orthodox community after various pressures of the government relinquished “willingly” its rights provided for in article 42 and accepted the application of the new civil law. Thus the Patriarchate lost further power to organize and manage the community’s issues.5

In 1927, there were made efforts to establish a charter for the organization of minority communities and the management of communal property. What preoccupied most the “Special Committee for drafting the organic charter of the Greek Orthodox Community” was the question of the lay or ecclesiastical administration of the communal institutions, as well as the legal status of the communities. At last, the charter was drawn up in 1927 by a committee consisting of Turks, in which a representative of the minority participated too. According to this charter, the management of the communal property was given to laymen of the community,6 who would form four-year committees, and then elections would be conducted in the communities.7

In 1935, the vakıf law (5/6/1935, No 2762) classified the minority religious foundations in the category of private vakıfs(mülhak vakıflar) and stipulated that they would be administered by commissioners or elected communal ephorates which would manage their property under the general control of the General Directorate of Vakıfs (Evkaf Genel Müdürlüğü).8 However, in 1938 (with the law No 3513-28.6.1938), the directorate of minority vakıfs was entrusted to special commissioners (tek mütevelli), who were nominated by the General Directorate of Vakıfs. Thus the margins of self-organization for the communities were circumvented.9 The most famous example of applying this measure is the case of the supporter of Turkish- Orthodox Patriarchate, İstamat Zihni Özdamar, who became governor in Balıklı.10 The measure was revoked in 1949 with legislative change (No 5404) and the minority vakıfs were characterized as communal (cemaat vakıfları),11 while elections were set for 1949. In a great degree, this change was part of the overall climate of the Greek-Turkish rapprochement, which affected positively the treatment of the minority.12

2. The representative bodies of the communities

Each community consisted of one or more parishes and belonged ecclesiastically to one of the three dioceses (Chalcedon, Derka, Pringipos) or to the Archbishopric of Constantinople. Internally, the community’s administration was based on its regulation. According to the regulations,13 each community’s goal was to meet the religious and educational needs, to manage its property and to exercise charity.

The ephorate was the representative and administrative authority of the community and was constituted after elections. The term of office varied from community to community. Also, the number of members in the ephorate was different in each community.14 The president, the vice presidents, the secretary, the treasurer etc were elected among these members. In the elections, the voters voted for the ephorate, for the inspecting committeeand sometimes for the electors for the elections of the major institutions. There were further subcommittees in each community according to the needs and the population (ecclesiastical committee, school committee, real estate committee, ration committee, disciplinary board committee etc), which consisted of the members of the ephorate and other councilors.

Both the laity and clergy staff of the community were hired and dismissed by the ephorate. However, the case of clergy required the approval of ecclesiastical authorities. As the regulations of Pringipos stated on issues relating to clergy, the ephorate convened under the metropolitan’s chairmanship15 and the clergy appealed to the diocese for any problems or complains. The diocese was charged with imposing fines and penalties16.

In major communities, the Patriarchate was represented by the head pontifical, who was nominated by the Patriarchate and he was the head of the central church of the community. The relations between the church and the communal authorities were not always harmonious. In some cases, the Patriarchate was involved or tried to intervene in the internal administration of communities.17 On the other hand, in some regulations, as for example in the regulation of Pringipos (1951), it was stressed that the ephorate “is obliged to adhere to the provisions of the Great Church of Christ and the diocese”.18

In community elections, the right to stand for election could be exercised by the Greek Orthodox men, who were Turkish citizens, able to take part in legal transactions and of irreproachable character. They should be literate and employed,19 permanent residents of the respective community at least for 120 or 221 years, and above a certain age.22

In the first years of 1950’s, the community employees and women acquired the right to vote.23 This change was part of the new social-political climate, which was formed in the decade of 1950, when the Democratic Party rose to power. The question of vote, especially women’s vote, sometimes provoked heated debates within the minority.24 In Pera, the right to vote was given in 1950, but in 1951 the General Assembly of Pringipos community voted down the demand.25 Finally, in 1953 the right to vote was given to women with 47 votes for and 31 against.26 However, even after the acquisition of women’s suffrage, the mentality and gender division -found in the Ottoman period too- according to which men should be actively involved in the administration, while women should be involved mostly in charity, was still valid. Women continued to administer and be present mostly in charitable associations held by various minority communities.27

An elective committee for elections undertook the conduct of the elections. The elections were held by secret ballot and the Ministry of Interior validated the results. The official authorities could request the resumption of elections due to irregularities or omissions.

The regular elections of the period after 1946 are evidence of an internal activity and alertness of the members of the community. Cases of opposition to the outgoing ephorate and to candidates, cases of resignation of the president of the ephorate28 and other similar cases indicate a willingness to participate in the community’s self-organization. This willingness decreased during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s as the population declined.

In the elections, the communities also elected the representatives-electors for the elections of the the minority’s major institutions.29 The electors of each community elected one ephorate for every institution with a three-year term of office and three controllers.30 Women never acquired the right to be either electors or candidates for the committees of major institutions.31

3. The Turkish Authorities and the communities

The Turkish authorities did not recognize legally communities, but religious foundations. They also did not recognize the ephorates and their role as highest administrative authorities of the communities. Certainly, the situation was not clear as it is indicated by the various titles/names used by both the communities themselves and the Turkish authorities, when addressing the communities. The confusion was exacerbated by the term ‘mütevelli’, which according to the Turkish legislation, referred to the governor who is nominated by the state, while the communal vakıfs were administered by committees elected by the community itself. However, the General Directorate of Vakıfs insisted that the elected committees should be deemed equivalent to the office of mütevelli whom it had the right to dismiss at will unlike the elected committees of the communities, which could be dismissed only after court decision.32

Throughout the 1950’s, there were efforts to diminish the role of the central ephoratesand an escalating intervention in the administration of communities was observed, which culminated in the 1960’s. In 1954, the Ministry of Interior decreed that these central ephorates should be called committeesfor the administration of the common real estate of the area. The purpose of this measure was to shrink the jurisdictions of the central ephorates and abolish its coordinating role in order for it to become a mere administrative body of the common properties of the vakıfs . After the intervention of A. Chatzopoulos MP, the measure was suspended. At the same time, there were attempts toward the revision of the communal status, while in the beginning of 1955 the Turkish state decided to draw unilaterally a general regulation for the minorities in Turkey, which was suspended again after the intervention of Hatzopoulos.33

The community elections were monitored by the authorities and frequently there was a tendency towards intervention and involvement.34 In the 1960’s, the situation worsened considerably. In 1956, the Ministry of Interior decreed that the central committees would no longer be recognized. In order to restrict the central ephorates, in April 1960the Police Directorate forbade the elections in Pera and in November of the same year the Istanbul Prefecture promulgated that the central committees would no longer be recognized and asked the various communities to conduct new elections.35

After the abolition of central committees, the communities tried to create unofficial organs or replace the central ephorates. For example, in the community of Stavrodromi (Pera), the ephorate committee was replaced by the ephorate of schools and the committee of churches, which would constitute a new committee called community executive committee.36

All these measures resulted in the weakening of central internal control as exercised by a higher administrative body like the ephorate, which guaranteed the very concept of community. On the other hand, the authorities tried to restrict the powers of these committees with the imposition of a special authorization granted by the General Directorate of Vakıfs for purchases and sales, which was an important source of revenue for large communities like Kurtuluş (Tatavla) and Stavrodromi (Pera).

In that way, however, the prosperity of communal institutions immediately after the Second World War would be transient. Since the 1960’s the intervention of authorities and the demographic decline created a fairly unfavorable environment for the communal self-organization and self-administration.37 Although typically the organizational form of the various communities did not change, the functioning of communities did change. Some institutions disappeared or fell into inactivity, some mechanisms were activated, the jurisdictions changed and were adapted to the new circumstances.38 Thus, the institutions and the procedures for the elections and the institutional control declined. As a result, the minority lost gradually every form of collective intervention and assertion within the Turkish Democracy. So there was initiated a process in which the secular spaces and the mechanisms which ensured the smooth functioning of minority gradually disappeared.39 The Patriarchate constituted an exception, because, although it regained its international prestige during the period of Athenagoras, from 1923 onwards it was dismantled of its administrative powers. Paradoxically, the state continued to converse with the community through the religious authorities, i.e. the Patriarchate. That was an important factor in the non-secularization of the communal institutions.

After the demographic decline (especially due to the expulsions in 1964,40 but also throughout the 1970s and 1980s), the principle, according to which the voter for each vakıf should be exclusively among the local residents in the area-district where the foundation was located, was used by authorities as a criterion for cancelling the elections.41 The participation of people from other communities in elections is inextricably linked to the demographic decline and the internal drift from remote areas towards the centre, which resulted in the depopulation of many communities. A depopulated community means a lack of electorate; thus the conduct of elections is impossible. This is so because, according to the Turkish legislation, if a vakıf has remained without administration for 10 years, it becomes automatically mazbut (occupied), which means that its administration comes under the jurisdiction of the General Directorate of Vakıfs. The non-conduct of elections was obviously a visible threat.

The elections, which were abated from the 1970’s, were repeated in 1991.42 Recently there have been at least some typical arrangements which allowed the revival of communal institutions. On November16, 2004, the Ministry of Interior issued a new statute for the communal vakıfs, according to which in case a vakıf does not have a community and thus cannot conduct elections, it can expand its constituency in areas with dispose of a community after a proposal and permission from the Ministry of Interior.43 According to the new statute, elections are conducted every four years for each vakıf separately. The Vakıf Board consists of 7 persons.44

The demographic decline and a series of administrative measures taken by the authorities resulted in paralyzing the whole system. However, nowadays elections are held in many communities,45 while there is a discussion over merging all the communities into a single body. These developments are indicative of some mobility over the minority’s administration. The issue of the communal organization of the Greek Orthodox minority remains open.

1. For the choice of the term “Rum” minority and not “Greek” minority, see: Νίκος Σιγάλας, `Τι σημαίνει ρωμαίικη κοινότητα της πόλης το έτος 2006`, Σύγχρονα Θέματα 94, (Ιούλιος-Σεπτέμβριος 2006), pp. 25-33.

2. We will not deal with the issue of Greek Orthodox  populations of Imbros and Tenedos here, because the institutional framework which was formed by the Treaty of Lausanne for Imbros and Tenedos is very different from that of Istanbul. The article 14 of the Treaty provided for a system of autonomy and self-administration for both islands. See: Alexis Alexandris, “Imbros and Tenedos: A Study of Turkish Attitudes Toward Two Ethnic Grek Island Communities Since 1923”, Journal of Hellenic Diaspora, vol. VII, no. 1, (1980), pp. 5-31.

3. The article 40 of the Treaty of Lausanne provided for the non-Muslim minorities to have equal rights to “establish, manage and supervise at their own expenses every kind of charitable, religious or public benefit Foundations, schools and other educational institutions […]”. Legislative Decree of the 25th of August 1923 “on ratifying the Lausanne Peace Treaty”. (FEK 25.8.1923), quoted in: Τσιτσελίκης, Κων. -Χριστόπουλος, Δ., (επιμ.), Το Μειονοτικό Φαινόμενο στην Ελλάδα, Μια συμβολή των Κοινωνικών Επιστημών, (Αθήνα 1997), pp. 448-449.

4. See, Alexandris, A., The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations 1918-1974, (Αθήνα 1974), pp. 105-193; Also Akgönül, S., Türkiye Rumları Ulus-Devlet Çağından Küreselleşme Çağına Bir Azınlığın Yok Oluş Süreci, (İstanbul 2007), pp. 61-93.

5. Alexandris, op. cit., pp. 135-139.

6. Alexandris, op.cit., pp. 169-170.

7. For example, in Pera community elections were held in 1928. The Turkish authorities were involved in the communal elections for the ephorate of Pera. In this case, Papa Eftim achieved the election of two of his followers.

8. Yuda Reyna-Ester Moreno Zonana, Cemaat Vakıfları, Gözlem Yayıncılık (İstanbul 2003), pp. 79-85. See also,  Balta, R., Mülhak Vakıflar El Kitabı (Ankara 1986), pp. 21-38. Güneri, H., “Azınlık Vakıflarının İncelenmesi”, Vakıflar Dergisi, vol. Χ (Ankara, 1973),  pp. 99-101.

9. Macar, E., “Başbakanlık Cumhuriyet Arşivi Belgelerine Göre Tek Parti Döneminde Cemaat Vakıflarının Sorunları”, TESEV Cemaatler ve Hukuki Sorunları Toplantısı, (15th of May 2005).

10. Σιδηρόπουλος, Φωκ., Τα Εθνικά Φιλανθρωπικά Καταστήματα στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, Σχόλια σ’ ένα ανέκδοτο κείμενο-Η πορεία τους στον εικοστό αιώνα, (Αθήνα 1999), pp. 353. See also,  Αποστολίδης, N.  Γ., Αναμνήσεις από την Κωνσταντινούπολη, (Αθήνα, 1996), pp. 188-192: “The Turkish government still didn’t give permission for new elections. Also it passed a law: the communities and institutions should be managed by a single commissioner. Those willing should submit their candidancy for this position in order to compete in writing on the issue of religious foundation law. In every community, the successful candidates would be nominated. All the shrewd persons took action mainly for the prosperous communities. At last, the exams took place and the successful candidates were those favored by the Popular Party.

11. Reyna, Y. -Şen, Y., Cemaat Vakıfları ve Sorunları, (İstanbul 1994), pp. 23-25. See also, Reyna-Zonana, op.cit., pp. 81-84. Oğuz, A., “Cemaatlere Mahsus Vakıflar”, Mülkiyeliler Birliği Dergisi, (Ankara 1969), issue 17, pp. 24-27. Balta, op.cit., pp. 40-41. Güneri, op.cit., pp. 101-102.

12. Macar, E., Cumhuriyet Döneminde İstanbul Rum Patrikhanesi, (İstanbul 2003), pp. 176-181.

13. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Κουρτουλούς (Κανονισμός Κοινότητας Κουρτουλούς 1953), Σειρά Η1-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 160, Κοινότητα Κανδύλλι (Κανονισμός Κοινότητας Κανδύλλι 1930), Σειρά Β2-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 39, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Κανονισμός Πριγκήπου 1951), Σειρά P-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 116-118, Κοινότητα Κουρουτσεσμέ (Κανονισμός Κουρουτσεσμέ 1953), Σειρά Χ2-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 7, Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου (Αναπροσαρμογή Σχετικών Περί Εκλογών διατάξεων του εν ισχύ κανονισμού Κοινότητος Σταυροδρομίου 1950), Σειρά Λ1-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 368.  The study of the community archives of the Rum Orthodox parishes in Constantinople was conducted in a research jointly done with Andrianopoulou Constantine, PhD candidate in History at the Panteion University in Athens. The research results were presented in the conference “Meeting in Constantinople: Present and Future” held on the 1st and 2nd of July 2006 in Constantinople and are going to be published in article form in the conference acts.

14. 10 in Prinkipos, 15 in Kurtuluş, 7 or at least 5 in Kuruçeşme.

15. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Κανονισμός Πριγκήπου 1951), Σειρά P-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 116-118.

16. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Εσωτερικός κανονισμός για καθήκοντα και ποινές κοινοτικών υπαλλήλων, 1962), Σειρά Ρ-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 72.

17. For example, in the elections of Stavrodromi in 1950, the Patriarch nominated the Head Pontifical of community as president of the supervisory committee. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου (Α΄ Συνεδρία Εφορευτικής Επιτροπής της 23ης Φεβρουαρίου 1950), Σειρά Λ1-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 369. In the period of Patriarch Athenagoras, the Patriarchate sent the community of Stavrodromi a work program on the division of responsibilities between the various committees. In the response to the Patriarchate, the executive committee of Stavrodromi community expressed its discontent at the relegation of the ephorate of schools within the community administration, according to the program. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου (Επιστολή Διοικούσας Επιτροπής Κοινότητας Σταυροδρομίου, 21/1/1963), Σειρά Α2-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 348.

18. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Κανονισμός Πριγκήπου 1951), Σειρά P-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 116-118.

19. Kuruçeşme regulation, 1953.

20. Kurtuluş regulation, 1953.

21. Pringipos regulation, 1951. The Pringipos regulation 1951 provides that those who have properties or they have spent their summertime in the island for two consecutive years have the right to vote. Having a property in a community, even without dwelling there, ensures the right to vote in Kuruçeşme too. Obviously the same applies to the other communities too.

22. 31 in Kurtuluş, 29 in Pringipos, 26 in Kuruçeşme. The above terms apply to the voting rights too, with a downward shift in the age limit.

23. The persons traditionally deprived of voting rights since the Ottoman period are “those who are subjected to judicial ban, under guardianship, bankrupts, still under trial, embezzlers or usurpers of communal property, commissioners liable for communal management, those convicted of felony or dishonorable misdemeanors.” Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Κανονισμός Πριγκήπου 1951), Σειρά P-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 116-118.

24. Although in Turkey the women’s voting rights had been entrenched since 1934, things changed for minority just in 1950’s, but not simultaneously and evenly in all the communities.

25. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Πρακτικά Γενικής Συνέλευσης 11/11/1951), Σειρά Ρ-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 110.

26. The rate indicates to what extend there was response and acceptance of the issue among a minority community in Constantinople. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Πρακτικά Γενικής Συνέλευσης 6/12/1953), Σειρά Ρ-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 117.

27. It seems that the prevalence of the notion of dichotomy between public and private, which is based on gender difference, overcomes time barriers. Thus, the way of participating in the public sphere of the community was and remained masculine. For this issue, see ΄Εφη Κάννερ, Φτώχεια και Φιλανθρωπία στην Ορθόδοξη κοινότητα της Κωνσταντινούπολης 1753-1912, (Athens 2004).

28. For example, in the general assembly of the community of Pringipos in 1953, a member of the community burst out and denounced the outgoing ephorate as inactive, ambitious, and divisive for the community. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Πριγκήπου (Πρακτικά Γενικής Συνέλευσης 6/12/1953), Σειρά Ρ-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 117. Also, in the community of Kuruçeşme the president of the president of the ephorate resigned in 1954 on the grounds of “some member’s intransigence and discordance”. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Κουρουτσεσμέ (Επιστολή Προέδρου Εφοροεπιτροπής 1954), Σειρά Χ2-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 7.

29. The major foundations are: Balıklı Philanthropic Establishments, Pringipos Orphanage, Great School of the Nation, Ioakeimeion Girls' School and Zappeion Girls' School.

30. Particularly in Balıklı Philanthropic Establishments, the professional status of the ephorate members was specified (3 doctors, 3 lawyers, 1 chemist, 2 architects or engineers, 1 merchant or landowner or banker). Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Κουρτουλούς (Κανονισμός Εκλογών των Μειζόνων Ιδρυμάτων), Σειρά Η-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 160.

31. The elections for the major foundations took place on the 30rd of December 1951, about two years after the primary elections. Until 1969, there were regular elections. After the elections of the 19th of January 1969 until 1991, the Turkish authorities did not give permission for elections.

32. Reyna – Zonana, op.cit, pp. 157-159. See also Yuda Reyna-Yusuf Şen, op.cit, pp. 49-50.

33. Κώστας Μ. Σταματόπουλος, Η Τελευταία αναλαμπή. Η Κωνσταντινουπολίτικη Ρωμηοσύνη στα χρόνια 1948-1955 (Athens 1996), pp. 31-51.

34. For example, the decision of the Ministry of Interior in 1964 not to recognize the 4-year term of the committees of Kurtuluş , which was defined by the internal regulation of the community. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Κουρτουλούς (Πρακτικά Εφοροεπιτροπής Κουρτουλούς 1964), Σειρά Δ-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 66.. In other cases, the police forbade a community’s general assembly which was convened before the elections. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Κουρτουλούς (Κανονισμός Εκλογών των Μειζόνων Ιδρυμάτων), Σειρά Η-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 160.

35. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου (Letter of the Istanbul Prefecture to the Kaymakamlık of Kadıköy, 28/11/1960)

36. Καταγραφή Ανθεμίου, Κοινότητα Σταυροδρομίου, Σειρά Α2-Αριθμός Μικροφίλμ 348. (Letter from the Executive Committee of  the Community Stavrodromi, 21/1/1963).

37. In 1956, the Turkish authorities closed the sole organization of the Greek subjects in Constantinople, the Greek Union. See Στέφανος Δεκαβάλας, ‘Το κλείσιμο της Ελληνικής Ένωσης Κωνσταντινουπόεως και οι πρώτες επιλεκτικές απελάσεις Ελλήνων υπηκόων’, Μνήμες Κωνσταντινούπολη, Ίμβρος, Τένεδος 1923-1995. Πρακτικά Δημερίδας, Καλαμαριά 11-12 Νοεμβρίου 1995 (Θεσσαλονίκη 1997), pp. 103-111.

38. Meanwhile, the committees got weaken, because some people left, other passed away and thus the community couldn’t manage its affairs any more.

39. Άρης Αμπατζής, Μαρμαρωμένη Ρωμιοσύνη. Οι Έλληνες της Κωνσταντινούπολης, (Athens 2005), pp. 59-62.

40. For the expulsions of the Greek subjects of Constantinople, see Hülya Demir-Rıdvan Akar, İstanbul’un Son Sürgünleri 1964’te Rumların Sınırdışı Edilmesi (İstanbul 1994).

41. Cemaat Vakıfları Bugünkü Sorunları ve Çözüm Önerileri, (İstanbul, 2002), pp. 20-21.

42. These elections were held according to a new system. There were created two electoral bodies. That of the European side held elections for the religious foundations of the European side and islands on the 31st of March 1991; that of the east side held elections for the religious foundations of the Asian side on the 30th of March 1991. In these elections, there were also incorporated the elections for the community’s major institutions, so the scheme of secondary election was jettisoned. Meanwhile, according to a report of Helsinki Human Rights Watch, 32 out of 35 candidates for the institutions’ committees received a letter from the Turkish authorities, which essentially prohibited their participation. See, Denying Human Rights and Ethnic Identity: The Greeks of Turkey, Helsinki Watch report, pp. 22-23.

43. Although this specific statute proposes measures for the cases that there is no electorate due to the demographic decline, it leaves the initiative for the expansion of constituency to the Ministry of Interior, that is to the will of the political power. For this issue see:“Filadelfia Metropoliti Sayın Meliton’un TESEV Toplantısındaki Konuşması” (26/5/2006).

44. The minimum number of board members is three and in case that fewer members remain, new elections must be held. “Cemaat Vakıfları Yönetim Kurulu Seçimlerinin Seçim Esas ve Usullerine İlişkin Yönetmelik”, Resmi Gazete, 16 (September 2004), no. 25585.

45. In the early 21st century, the Greek-Orthodox (Rum) are divided into 42 communities. Μ. Αναστασιάδου – Π. Ντυμόν, Οι Ρωμηοί της Πόλης. Τραύματα και Προσδοκίες, Εστία (Athens, 2007), pp. 177-178.


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