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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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    The Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki is located on the Turkish island known as Heyelbiada in the Bosporus straits. It was closed in 1971 by the Turkish government and is the subject of much controversy since it is the only seminary in Turkey and the position of Ecumenical Patriarch can only be filled by a Turkish citizen. Sign the petition to reopen it at

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25 September 2008


John Akritas

Powerful and shocking testimony, which shows us what we're up against, since not only are the Turks entirely unrepentant about this kind of Nazism – I don't think it's an exaggeration to compare what Koumakis describes to Nazism – but it is still prevalent in Turkey today. Everything Greece does it should do knowing that Turkey's aim is to destroy Hellenism wherever it finds it.


It is sad but most Turks don't even know how the Greek community even came to exist in Constantinople (Istanbul).They don't realize that they were there long before the Turks even showed up in Asia Minor.They are never taught this in their history leasons ofcourse.In Cyprus,the history of the island starts with the Ottoman Conquest in Turkish Cypriot schools,leaving out all the past thousands of years and the Greek presence on the island.
Thank's for this very good post.


Most Turks don't even know about the pogrom of 1955.

John Akritas

I came across this site

which has a documentary from ERT 3 with Spiros Vryonis talking about the Septemvriana. I’ve got a feeling you may have linked to the programme on MGO previously; but I wasn’t sure. The interviewer is irritating and keeps interrupting and sidetracking Vryonis; but it’s still worth a watch. Vryonis is an interesting character in his own right, I feel. I always assumed he was a Constantinopolitan, but in the interview he reveals he’s actually from Kefallonia.


Hi John,

I do recall watching it in its entirety. Fascinating stuff. Vryonis is a real scholar. He has written a previous book: The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor and the Process of Islamization, which is considered a seminal work on the subject. Its lessons are applicable to what is going on today as we speak.

Also came across this piece, dated, though not much has changed:,,25340-1897861,00.html


Dear Stavros and dear commentators of this article,

Please do not generalize this much. I am a Turkish citizen (not "the Turk" please) living pretty much in the Greek community of Istanbul/Constantinople.

My best friend and boss are Greek, every week play with our Rebetiko band, I found your blog while looking for the English translations of To Dixty, I spend my summer vacations either in Tenedos or Imbros, even I can speak a little bit of Greek myself. (This is not self-promotion, all I'm trying to show you that I know what I'm talking about.)

And I would like to assure you that a considerable number of the people living in this country know about the pogrom, about the Greek history of Istanbul, Izmir, Cyprus etc, about the Armenians and the Great Catastrophe of 1915, about the wrongdoings against the Kurds and non-Sunni Muslims... And please believe me, we are critical about the history and politics of this country.

Even the photo at the top of your article (for those of you who doesn't know it is a picture from Hrant Dink's funeral) is an indicator that we're able to differentiate what is right and what is wrong.
Please check this link out:

I am sure in a very near future one more of these websites will be designed to express our grief for a decades old injustice perpetrated against the Greek community. For now, all I can do is to express my personal grief. :)

Merry Christmas and kalinihta!!



I don't think it is a generalization, I think you are an exception. Most Turks especially those living outside of a large metropolitan area like Istanbul don't have contact with Greeks or Armenians, let alone understand their history. They surely do not read it in their history books. You and I both know that the Turkish government officially denies the genocide that took place of its subject peoples. Not only do they deny it, they spend a great deal of public relations money and use their political clout to do so.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are Turks of goodwill like yourself who feel remorse and I appreciate you expressing it in such a public way. Unfortunately that does not change the actions of your government which continues to occupy Cyprus, stirs up trouble among the Muslim population in Greek Thrace while pursuing policies which have decimated the Greek population in Istanbul, Tenedos and Imbros, repeatedly violates the airspace of a friendly neighbor and most importantly for me, continues to harass and limit the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

If you spend any amount of time on this blog you will realize that it is about taking pride in things Greek, not hating Turks.

In the spirit of Christmas here is a small gift to you:

In the narrows of the Bosporus
Yiannis weeps in the evening,
And next to him Mehmet
Drinks and sings to him.

I am a Turk and you are a Greek,
And you are a people and I am a people,
You have Christ and I have Allah
But the two of us share a common suffered destiny. [Turkish: ah ve vah]

With a little wine and love
I am getting drunk and so are you,
Drink a little from my cup,
My brother and my friend [Turkish: arkadaş]

Giana Forzareli

I was told by a friend that Greece may face the removal from the European Union and will not be able to use the euro. Is that true? I am aware that their debt is increasing overwhelming. Would something like this warrant a tax debt relief or have then seen an amount of relief that has capped their limit? I hope the people of Greece are finding ways to manage with this crisis. I wouldn't wish this crisis on my worse enemy.


Yes Giana, it is. Actually the Greek government has made huge strides it decreasing its deficit however the amassed government debt will take years to pay off. The Greeks are asking for more time so they can salvage their economy which is in dire straits. Unfortunately, their future is in the hands of others. A warning to us all.

Gladys Hewitt

I simply love this quote from the blog that Hatred destroys what was good and pure in the past and the present. It simply means to embrace what is ours.

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