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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)