The many faces of the island and city of Rhodes: reflections on the life of Greek Muslims of Turkish origin in contemporary Greece
Kira Kaurinkoski (Aix-Marseille Université)
Paper short abstract:
The aim of this paper is to reflect on the life of Greek Muslims of Turkish origin, the relations between the majority and the minority populations and the Greek state in an island community in contemporary Greece.
Paper long abstract:
Rhodes is the main island of the Dodecanese and home to a Muslim minority present on its territory as a legacy from the Ottoman period. The incorporation of the Dodecanese into Greek territory in 1947, and the invasion of North Cyprus by Turkey in 1974 provoked the migration of a large number of Muslims of Turkish origin to Turkey. Usually, those who left Greece were deprived of their Greek citizenship. Among those who stayed, many "forgot" the Turkish language and also their religion. Mixed marriages with Christians became common place. A number of mosques was transferred to the metropolitan of Rhodes and became churches. Some others became storages or are slowly turning into ruins. Other Turkish waqf property was sold or rented out and used as shops, cafes or playgrounds. Official guides were instructed not to mention the Ottoman past. With the political changes in Europe since the 1990s, the arrival of migrants from the Balkans, Asia and the Middle East, pressure from EU institutions and the recent rapprochement with Turkey, the situation is changing. Some restoration efforts of material property have been undertaken. There is new vitality in the local Muslim community. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the relations between the majority and the minority populations, the newly arrived migrants and the Greek State in an island community in contemporary Greece.