Impacts of Transition from an Official Greek Viewpoint: The Case of the Turkish Muslim Minority in Western Thrace-Greece (1923-1933)

Hüseyinoğlu, Ali
In the beginning of the 20th century, the dissolution of great empires in Europe resulted in formation of new nation states. Millions of people were forced to move from one place to another while others remained on their own historic lands. As the Ottoman Millet system collapsed together with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, ethnic and religious differentiation among communities throughout the former Ottoman lands started to be promoted by new nation states of the post-World War. In this respect, those belonging to the core nation were given an advantaged position compared to the ‘minorities’ living in the same nation state who used to enjoy being members of the Müslim Millet under the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the Muslims across the Balkan Peninsula, regardless of their ethnic origins, became one of the main groups who suffered from the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. The case of the Muslim Turkish minority of Western Thrace in Greece seems to be one of the significant case studies that would help to understand how reflections of the transition process from Ottoman to the Republic of Turkey affected the gradual transformation of a conservative Islamic community into a minority members of whom identify themselves with ethnic Turkish identity and Islam promoted by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs, Diyanet. In this framework, this paper seeks to shed light on the first decade of transition after 1923 analyzing issues of religious, educational, administrative autonomy of the Minority enshrined in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. In particular, it aims to show how this process was interpreted by Konstantinos Stilianopoulos, the Inspector of Minorities - the highest Greek authority responsible for minorities in the Interwar Greece. By analyzing the two comprehensive official reports prepared by Stilianopoulos after paying two visits to the region in late 1920s in order to observe continuities and changes in lives of the Turkish Minority in Western Thrace, this study provides an official Greek viewpoint for the establishment of the minority regime in the north-eastern periphery of Greece after 1923.


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Citation Formats
A. Hüseyinoğlu, “Impacts of Transition from an Official Greek Viewpoint: The Case of the Turkish Muslim Minority in Western Thrace-Greece (1923-1933),” ODTÜ Gelişme Dergisi, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 87–110, 2012, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: