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Greek Life Insurance Policy Programme from “New York Life Insurance Company”

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The New York Life Insurance Company began selling life insurance policies in the Ottoman Empire in 1882. In connection with turmoil caused by the outbreak of World War I, however, New York Life stopped selling policies in Europe and in the Ottoman Empire after 1914. Various reference works and other sources indicate that many persons of Greek ancestry living in the Ottoman Empire at the outbreak of World War I were displaced or perished between 1915 and 1923. The company searched its records to locate all policies issued in the Ottoman Empire before 1915 insuring those of Greek heritage. New York Life paid benefits on many of those policies. However, it received no claims and thus paid no benefits or cash value on some of those policies, referred to as the “Greek Policies.”
In order to encourage claims upon the Greek Policies, New York Life has established the Greek Life Insurance Policy Programme. Descendants of persons insured under the Greek Policies may submit claims for benefits at: www.greekinsuranceclaims.com/en/board.php3
In order to be considered, the claim form and copies of all supporting documents must be mailed or e-mailed to the Claim Board by February 28, 2009.

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Greece – Turkey: Forgotten Greek Islands Get Hope for the Future

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Located just off the coast of Turkey, the two islands of Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos), now part of Turkey, but inhabited mostly by ethnic Greeks since antiquity, were exempt from the population exchange of 1922, leaving its inhabitants, with a form of self autonomy – including the right to teach the Greek language, religious freedom, and have their own police force. As the decades passed, Turkey began settling mainland Turks on the island, causing an exodus of the islanders as to where it got to the point where only 250 Greeks remain on Imbros and 30 Greeks remain on Tenedos.  Last week (27.6.2008), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) approved a report for preserving the bicultural character of two islands, saying that the Greek population has suffered long enough. The Assembly has invited Turkey to take a “positive attitude” to ethnic Greeks still living on the islands in order to preserve their bicultural character – pointing out that this “could serve as a model for co-operation between Turkey and Greece”. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly: Resolution 1625 ( 2008 )  Turkish Daily News: Council of Europe asks to reopen school; Hurriet: PACE approves preserving Greek-origin citizens’ rights on Turk islands; Kathimerini: Help on way for Imvros, Tenedos Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Ethnic Greeks in Istanbul, Gokceada (Imvros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos)

Book: Paradise Lost / Smyrna, 1922

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Smyrna was the richest and most cosmopolitan city in the Ottoman Empire, where Levantine dynasties, Greeks, Armenians, Turks, and Jews, had created together a majority Christian community that was unique in the Islamic world. In his book “Paradise Lost: Smyrna, 1922,” author Giles Milton describes how two million innocent civilians were caught up in the conflict as victorious Turkish troops entered Smyrna. The port was ransacked and looted for days and hundreds of thousands were deported or killed. Milton actually met survivors of the massacre, who he says are haunted by the destruction of their city “every day of their lives.” 

Secretariat General for Information: Greece in the World- Books on Modern Greek History-“Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922“; Foundation of the Hellenic World: From the 1920 elections until the Asia Minor Catastrophe