From foreign and Greek scientific and historical documents, which are impartial, it is obvious that the history of modern Greece has been built on myths. Without the help of Russia, France, Great Britain and Germany, Greece would not have been established as a state. This means that, the Greece of yesterday and today, without the help of the great powers and the international organizations would not exist. Also, the strengthening of Greece as a state took place after it joined NATO and the EU. It is not in vain that they call it the “pet child”, but also the “Mistress of the West” and the “Wife of the East”. Having this favorable position of fondling, Greece has made attempts several times to expand its borders at the expense of its neighbors even after the Peace Conference and the founding of the League of Nations, when peace was established (1919-1920 ), but also in contracting, assimilation and genocide of ethnic and historical national minorities living throughout the centuries.
Today, Greece legally claims that its citizens of about 10 million inhabitants are 100 per cent worthy Greeks, heirs of ancient and modern Greece. So in Greece, according to its constitution and laws, there is no Albanian, Roma, Turkish, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Vlach, Slavic, Pomak, Egyptian and Roma minority. Today's Greece after the fall of Byzantium has always been inhabited by Albanians, Jews, Turks, Romiots (centuries ago Greeks preferred to be called Romiots rather than Hellenes or Greeks), Macedonians, Bulgarians, Vlachs, Egyptians, Roma, Slavs, who, after being selected, they formed the modern Greek state with a deceptive mythological history. The fact that in Greece Albanian, Romani, Turkish, Hebrew, Macedonian, Bulgarian, etc., are spoken in family circles, clearly shows that there is still an unassimilated population, no matter how harsh has been and still is the state oppression.
Jews mostly lived in the city of Thessaloniki, where there used to be their largest cemetery in Europe with over 500,000 graves. (Robert D. Kaplan, Greqia: Dashnorja e Perëndimit, Gruaja e Lindjes, Tirana, 2002, p. 25). But, this was demolished by the Greeks and they built the “Aristotle” University of Thessaloniki using the marble tombstones, where thousands of young people study today. In addition, during World War II, most of the Jews were handed over to the Germans by the Greeks so that they would be sent to concentration camps. Out of the approximately 56,000 Jews in Thessaloniki in 1941, when the Germans invaded, a few months later, 54,050 (ibid, p. 26) were sent to concentration camps, or over 96 percent of this minority population. Today, the Jewish community in Greece is not officially recognized and there is only a small cemetery in Thessaloniki, which is maintained by the state of Israel.
In the early 1970s, the cemeteries of Albanians, Bulgarians and Romanians were demolished in Thessaloniki. These cemeteries had been the property of these communities.
The Bulgarian minority has been assimilated. Only somewhere in the Seres area live several hundred Bulgarian-speaking elders.
Greece has gradually reduced the Turkish minority. The Turks who once lived in Thessaloniki have almost disappeared. They mostly do ordinary work in the self-employment sector selling tea, sahlep and pretzels in carts. These Greek citizens with Turkish origin, who speak their mother tongue, live in huts on the street corners of the city's old quarters and are under constant pressure from the Greek state structures to leave Thessaloniki.
The Turks living in Euro-Thrace, on the island of Rhodes, are known as Greeks belonging to Islamic religion and not as a Turkish minority. This population of Islamic religion which is Turkish managed to be represented with three MPs in the Assembly of the Hellenic Republic in the early 1990s, but they have always been known as Muslims representing the Greek political parties PASOK or DR-New Democracy. This population is constantly under pressure to emigrate abroad, to Turkey, Italy, Germany, etc., to abandon their homes.
The Greek state deliberately leaves them without any investments and in poverty, creating the impression as if they were in Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq. There are Greek families whose mother tongue is Turkish in many other places in Greece, which I myself met in Epirus, Halkidha, near Athens. I have noticed that the local government despises these few families by calling them juftos - Egyptians (Gúphtos), but in fact they were Turks. (One cannot determine ethnicity by skin color; it is determined by the language spoken within the family circle, inherited from parents and grandparents.).
Vlachs in Greece are the pettiest minority in terms of power, but whose linguistic and cultural rights are not recognized. They are known as Greek Vlachs (wllino-vllahon). The Vlach population in many cases has seized the properties of Albanians and Macedonians, as they were forcibly expelled from their lands. From the conversations in Epirus with Vlachs who were trying to preserve their ethnicity, I was told that they were always under the surveillance of the Greek security and police forces. They were often mistreated by exercising force on them.
After expelling thousands of Albanians from their lands in Chameria, the Greeks began the expulsion of Macedonians living in the border area of Florina, Edessa, Thessaloniki and Kilkis. In the name of the civil war (1946-1949) and in order to achieve power between the right-wing forces that were unreservedly assisted by Great Britain and the USA against the leftist forces, massacres began in the villages where the Macedonian minority lived. As a result, thousands of Macedonians were displaced from their homes and initially sheltered in Albania, the former Yugoslavia and the former communist countries.
The Greek civil war (1946-1949) had tragic consequences for the Macedonian minority, which suffered
the fate of the Albanians in Chameria, the denial of returning to their lands, for the return of their real
estate assets. It is ironic that the Albanian minority in Chameria was massacred and expelled in genocide on accusations of collaborating with the German occupiers. On the other hand, the Macedonian minority was massacred and expelled on accusations of collaborating with the Greek Democratic Army led by Greek communists.
The Macedonians of Greece are the national minority that made efforts to revive and preserve their identity after 1990. This minority also made efforts to establish their orthodox church in Florina, but the priest and his family were abused and spent some time in prison. This is how this attempt of this minority failed. During my research in Thessaloniki and Florina I met Greek citizens who belonged to the Macedonian minority. I saw empty villages in which the Macedonian minority once lived, but they had already left without turning their heads back. This was a very sad thing to see.
At the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913, when it took Epirus, Greece has systematically expelled the Albanians, but also from other parts such as Kostur and Florina where they lived in. It was generally the Albanians of the Islamic religion, but also the Orthodox Albanians that refused to declare their Greek nationality, the ones who were massacred or expelled from their homes to live in distant Greek cities and to be assimilated more quickly. The expelled Albanians, who were Greek citizens, were initially stripped of their Greek citizenship and declared missing, and without any address. Furthermore, they appropriated their wealth and gave it to others. Orthodox immigrants from Asia Minor settled in the seized lands. Albanians, whose wealth was appropriated by the Greek state, are divided into two categories:
a. Albanians, whose wealth was unjustly appropriated by the Lausanne Agreement as an exchangeable Islamic population with the Orthodox.
b. The Cham Albanian population that the Greeks called them collaborators with the German occupiers.
By the Law Decree of 1923-1932, Greece appropriated all the assets of Albanians of Islamic religion under the pretext of the Lausanne Agreement as an exchangeable population between Muslim Turks and Orthodox Greeks. This idea found support in the Circular of the Greek Ministry of Agriculture, dated October 1, 1922, which ordered the general administration of Epirus to settle refugee families in the properties of Albanian Muslims (AYE/A/5 (9)) (Governor General of Epirus, Greek Foreign Ministry, Ioannina, March 2, 1923.) Special offices were set up to nationalize the property of Albanian Muslims in the major centers of Chameria, such as Filat, Paramithi and Margelic (Conference de Lausanne sur les Affaires of the Prache Orient, 1922-1923, Newspaper, SHEKULLI, Tirana, 9 January 2008).
In the beginning of 1926 in Geneva, the President of Greece Theodoros Pangalos made an official statement before the League of Nations by which Greece recognized the Albanian minority and no longer called the Muslim Albanians living in its territory as Turkish population. He, among other things, stated:
Albania's independence and status quo are of great interest to Greece, because its policy is the basis for maintaining peace in the Balkans...
The thesis that has been held by us until today that the Albanian Orthodox population is Greek is wrong and spurned by everyone. Since it has taken the downhill and reached the point of exhaustion, I took the necessary measures and dispersed all the northern Epirus societies that took pity on this most extreme sick thought.
Ilir Ushtelenca, Diplomacia e mbretit zogu 1, Tirana, 1997, p. 118.
Thus, out of the “Greek-Turkish” issue, a topic is already being developed that has to do with Greek-Albanian relations, which will affect the next period to a very large extent. The presence of Cham Muslims in Epirus was a special case and a strong negotiating document that the Albanian government intended to use in order to achieve a satisfactory normalization of its economic goals regarding the property issue.
But, the issue of Albanians in Chameria would not be resolved even though Greek diplomats and politicians promised. In the following years, the Greek state deprived of the right to agricultural land all the people without Greek nationality in the name of the agrarian reform 1925-1927. (Mentor Nazarko, lufta e fundit, Pronat e shqiptarëve n ëGreqi, Tirana, 2007, p. 50). The Italians, the French, the Germans, the Turks who owned property in Greece, were indemnified, only the Albanians were not. World War II would begin in a few years‟ time. With the capitulation of Germany, the Greeks resumed the massacres of the Albanian population in Chameria.
The Cham Albanians who were expelled in 1944-1945, the Greek state called them collaborators of the Germans and collectively deprived them of Greek citizenship and appropriated their properties. By some primitive laws, Greece denied any human rights to all those Greek citizens who had not accepted Greek nationality to ever return to Greece, even as visitors.
During 1972-1982, the Greek governments enacted laws that allowed any Greek citizen expelled to return and receive back their properties or get indemnified. The Cham Albanians and the Aegean Macedonians were excluded from these laws, as the law stipulated that the pardoned person must have Greek nationality and have held a Greek national position in exile.
During my research I met several Greek citizens of Albanian origin in Epirus. I met a Greek near Igumenitsa and he spoke to me in Albanian in 1991. During the conversation he said to me that his parents were of Albanian origin from Chameria. There are many Greeks who have married girls from Albania in the province of Chameria. Many of these Greeks of Albanian origins, in order to preserve their origin, married Albanian women who immigrated in the early 1990s. The village of Aidonta was once called Ftini and is located in the Prefecture of Preveza, Chameria. The well-known researcher Nikos Stylos is from this village, who has been living in Germany for many years now. He affirms his Albanian origin and speaks the Albanian language very well. Nikos Stylos has written about the Greek racism against children originating from Albanian families and attended Greek school in the period 1950-1960. He said for an Albanian newspaper: “The teacher would hit us with a stick every time we spoke Albanian, one stick for one word.” (Newspaper, Koha Ditore, Prishtina, 10 September 2004).
The parents of the children originating from Albanian families were always called to school by teachers for their children's progress. They were advised not to speak Albanian, but only Greek in front of the children. Although under such pressure, the Chams who survived the massacres of Zerva's army preserved the Albanian language. Most of the Albanians from Chameria who belonged to the Orthodox religion, after the expulsion of the Chams of the Islamic religion, left for the cities away from the province of Chameria. In 1995, I met an Orthodox Cham in the city of Thessaloniki who had come to Thessaloniki after 1950 and he had an uncle in Albania in the city of Elbasan. He was a Muslim, but he had converted to Orthodox.
This is just some evidence that shows that there are still Albanians in Chameria who have survived the storms of time and state pressure with great sacrifices only by being Albanian.
By denying the existence of Turkish, Albanian, Roma, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Jewish, Roma, Egyptian, and Pomak national minorities,
Greece urges the neighboring countries to meet the conditions for the protection of human rights, especially of the Greek minority living
in some lost villages at the foot of a dry mountain in southern Albania. While the state itself, which claims to be democratic, has several times
been at the center of criticism by various international organizations for human rights violations, all the way to racial and religious discrimination. The issue of human rights protection in Greece is being implemented by the Greek state at a low level.
Even a few Greek non-governmental organizations that call for the protection of human rights are not very active when it comes to the protection of minority rights in Greece, who are not officially recognized by the state. Greece does not exercise state racism only against minorities, but also against its citizens who are ethnic Greek and of another religion such as: the Catholics, Jehovas, atheists, Protestants, Hebrews, who are few in number and are brutally oppressed by the majority of the orthodox believers.
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