Lesbos – Ayvalik : le grand échange de populations

This video is a rare document about the population exchange that happened at the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Between 1922 and 1923, 500 000 Turkish people from Greece were forced to leave to Turkey while 1 500 000 Greek people from Asia Minor had to leave to Greece. Still after a few generations, people are so moved about this human tragedy.

Ayvalik, in Turkey, is one of the cities affected. The exchange happened with Lesbos. Cunda, the adjacent island close to Ayvalik, welcomed Turks from Crete and in some places on Cunda or Ayvalik, one can still hear old people speaking in Greek.

Ayvalik was a prosperous Greek city, living mostly on the olive industry and hosting twelve churches. Sometimes nowadays one can see a group of Greek people visiting the town, on the track of the houses of their ancestors. If you talk to people here about the tragedy you will witness soon them crying, almost 95 years later. They still give each other nicknames which are… the name of the village in Lesbos they come from, although most of them never went there. Turks have been authorized to visit their ancestors villages in Lesbos only a few years ago.

Samedi 3 mars 2018

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