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Identity policy of the Greek State per period06 November 2018

The identity phenomenon is a heatedly debated topic in the 21st century. The beginning of the identity question lasts until the appearance of the national states. The national states had the aim of becoming an independent state instead of being under the framework of an empire. However, it was not a solution at all because there were also ethnic identities existing in the national states and after a time they also started demanding independence as well.

Salih Canbaz | Writer

There are several views about that phenomenon that could be handled in another article. Therefore, in this article, there will be an approach within the sample of Greece and especially the Muslim-Turkish Minority. The relation between the Greek State and the minority could be categorized per three periods. Firstly, from the Treaty of Lausanne until the Junta regime (1923-1967), secondly from the occupation of Cyprus until the cancellation of the prohibited area application (1974-1995), and finally from 1996 until today. The period between 1967-1974 is not included because the Junta regime is an uncommon and unexpected phenomenon that comes up surprisingly and often with the same ideas. So, that period will be none of our business.

The period between 1923-1967 was the period when Muslim-Turks were recognized as Muslim-Turks by the Kingdom of Greece and not as Muslim-Greeks as they are recognized today. The word Turk was such a usual saying that even the schools were named as Turkish schools. The most interesting point is that the best years of Greek-Turkish relations refer to that period, in other words when the nationalism was a danger for the subcultures.

Coming to 1974, Turkey entered Cyprus and it was the time when things started worsening. After that time on, the discourse of assimilation started to be discussed related to the minority. The period between 1974-1995 the name ‘Turk’ was banned to be used in the public sphere, the part of the minority who was living in the northern part of Thrace was forced to obey the prohibited area application with a justification of avoiding the communist influx etc. Even if it starts in 1953, it should be included in the second period as the most strict effects were faced at that time. This application was also considered as a ghetto application according to some authorities.

Finally, after 1995, the prohibited area application was canceled and it was the time when the minority started taking a sigh of relief however they were still not recognized ethnically as they demanded. The youth started studying at Greek Universities and more importantly started communicating with the mass culture. That was a substantial process on behalf of respecting human rights. Nevertheless as stated before, it was the time when the minority started communicating with the mass culture as never done before. There were worries about losing their belongings of both mass and minority culture, yet the negative outcomes had only been observed in the minority society.

To sum up, the first period can be assumed as a successful period even though the nationalism ambiance all over the world. However, the second period was a disappointment for both the state and the minority. Finally, there we can observe an integration process, but, this process is looking to be an innocent assimilation process.

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