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Evangelia Balta, “Karamanlides: Rum Orthodox Turkish-Speaking Anatolians before and after the Population Exchange (1923)”
Opening remarks by Her Excellency Alexandra Papadopoulou, Ambassador of Greece to the United States.
This lecture focuses on the language, social history, and culture of the Rum Orthodox population that lived in Asia Minor and the urban centers of the Ottoman Empire. Among these were Orthodox Christians who spoke Turkish as their native language. Like the Turkish-speaking Armenians, the Greek-speaking Roman Catholics, and the Ladino- or Turkish-speaking Jews, the Karamanlides were an ethnic-religious group that formed part of the multi-cultural and multi-lingual Ottoman Empire while maintaining their own culture and tradition. Since the early 18th century, books (both religious and secular), periodicals, and newspapers in Turkish were printed with Greek letters, leaving ample evidence for us to discuss this rich cultural heritage. Being Christians, they were eventually exiled from their homeland, in accordance with the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). The majority of them settled in Greece, while others settled in the United States and various European countries.
Evangelia Balta is Research Director at the Institute of Historical Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation. Her interests focus on topics related to Economic and Social History during the Ottoman period and the culture of the Greek Orthodox population of Anatolia. Since 2008 she has organized three International Conferences on Karamanlidika Studies. In addition, since 2011 she has conducted seminars on Karamanlidika Studies at the annual Intensive Summer School on Cunda Island organized by the Ottoman Studies Foundation at Harvard University. She was made an honorary member of the Turkish Historical Society (2013), and she was awarded the “Order of Merit (Liyakat Nişanı)” by the President of the Turkish Republic, Abdullah Gül (2014). For more information on the speaker, see: www.evangeliabalta.com.
This lecture is co-sponsored by the Embassy of Greece in the USA, the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles, the SNF Centre at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, and The Hellenic Society of Constantinople. It is part of a series of events —lectures, theatrical and musical performances, book discussions— that take the centenary of the 1922 Asia Minor Catastrophe in order to commemorate and reflect on Asia Minor Hellenism and its unique culture and history.
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