Turks of the Dodecanese

The Turks of the Dodecanese are a community of 2,000[1] Turkish-speaking people and ethnic Turks living on the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes (Turkish: Rodos) and Kos (Turkish: İstanköy) who were not affected by the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, since the islands were under the rule of the Kingdom of Italy at the time (from 1912). All inhabitants of the islands became Greek citizens after 1947 when the islands became part of Greece.

As a result of this incorporation into Greece and due to the situation following the Cyprus conflict and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 many Muslim Turks left the islands and settled in Turkey.[2] Many of them were deprived of their Greek citizenship and property.[3] Some of those who stayed abandoned the Turkish language and their religion.[4]

The Turks in Kos are partly organized around the Turkish Muslim Association of Kos (Turkish: İstanköy Türk Müslüman Derneği) which gives the figure 2,000 for the population they bring together and represent for the Greek island.[5]

Those in Rhodes are organized around the Turkish Association of Rhodes (Turkish: Rodos Türk Derneği), which gives the figure 3,500 for the population they bring together and represent for the island.[6]

The Turkish terms sometimes used for the members of the various organizations can vary depending on different specifications. The unofficial Oniki Ada Türkleri has been pushed by some for the exact equivalent of the term "Turks of the Dodecanese". Other are societies called Rodos Türkleri or İstanköy Türkleri for the two respective islands, or even Giritli ("Cretans" in Turkish) for some of the population, since some had emigrated to the Dodecanese from Crete in the process of the adhesion of Crete to Greece or due to cultural similarities with Cretan Turks. The more general term Adalı is sometimes used (meaning "islanders").

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates the number of the Turks in Rhodes and Kos as 6.000.[7]

See also



  • Clogg, Richard (2002), Minorities in Greece, Hurst & Co. Publishers, ISBN 1-85065-706-8 .
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