April 6, 2011
ORGANIZATION OF EMIGRANTS IN TURKEY AND GREECE:
EXAMPLE OF THE FOUNDATION OF LAUSANNE TREATY EMIGRANTS
Great masses of civilian people were left no choice but to immigrate as the result of constant wars on the Ottoman territory since the end of the 18th century. One of the most important massive migrations was the compulsory migration as a result of the Population Exchange Agreement signed between Turkey and Greece on January 30, 1923 in Lausanne. Nearly two million people were forced to leave their homes and to settle in new locations according to the Agreement. Emigrants faced hardships in their process of adjustment due to difference of language, climate and social routines in both countries. Whereas the drama of Greek emigrants was studied by historians, social scientists, artists and authors widely, an advanced literature on Turkish emigrants did not emerge until today. Greek emigrants established associations in Greece right after the population exchange.
The first organization of Turkish emigrants in Turkey was established on September 24, 1923 through the merger of the Community of Macedonia and Community of East Macedonia. There was no organization until the Foundation of Lausanne Treaty Emigrants (LMV). LMV was founded in 2001 to contribute to the friendly atmosphere established between Turkish and Greek people after the earthquakes in Turkey and Greece. The intention of LMV is the protection of cultural values of emigrants, doing scientific research on recent history and population exchange, working for the protection of cultural heritage which was left behind in Greece and contributing to the friendship between Turkish and Greek people. LMV’s recent successful projects are “Longing for Istanbul” (2010) which includes in-depth interviews with 47 people who left Istanbul at various dates and settled in Greece; Population Exchange Museum (2010) which is Turkey’s first museum with theme on migration; an atlas indicating the former and current names of the settlements in North Greece: Mübadele Öncesi ve Sonrası Eski ve Yeni Adları ile Kuzey Yunanistan Yer Adları Atlası (2010).