Help on way for Imvros, Tenedos

The few remaining Greek inhabitants of the northeastern Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos, known as Gokceada and Bozcaada respectively in Turkish, are set to receive a boost this week from the Council of Europe, Sunday’s Kathimerini has learned. Swiss MP Andreas Gross is due to deliver before the council on Friday the findings of a study he has conducted on the fate of the dwindling Greek communities of the islands, which were ceded to Turkey in accordance with the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Gross has visited both islands and was able to see for himself that less than 300 Greeks remain on Imvros, compared to more than 9,000 in 1912, while there are just over 20 Greeks on Tenedos, compared to more than 5,000 in 1912. According to the report seen by Sunday’s Kathimerini, Gross is due to recommend a range of measures designed to revive the Greek communities on the islands and to help many of those who left the islands in the years following their ceding to Turkey to reclaim property that was subsequently appropriated. The Council of Europe will welcome the fact that the Turkish government has decided to change its stance on the Greek communities on the islands and has declared its intention to rebuild Orthodox churches. Gross, however, will call on Turkey to take a number of additional steps, including the reopening of a Greek school on Imvros, which he thinks would prompt many Greeks who originate from the island to return there. Gross additionally recommends the return of any land or homes that have been appropriated. The rapporteur will also argue that Turkey must ensure that any other personal fortunes that have gone missing should be returned to the relatives of those who lost their possessions.