Friday, October 16, 2015

On September 28, the high school section of a Greek minority school on the NE Aegean island of Imvros (Gökçeada in Turkish) reopened, 51 years after it was closed by Turkish authorities.

Half a century ago, the schools had about 450 students; today, the total number is 14 - three students in primary school, which had reopened in 2013, five students in junior high school and six students in senior high school. 

For Laki Vingas, head of the Imvros Education and Culture Association, the low number of students is not important, as it is only the future that matters. The reopening of the school may be a reminder of a painful past, but it also raises hopes that Turkey’s dwindling Greek minority will escape extinction. "For a community whose history abounds with suffering, scars, lost values, closed schools, banishments and confiscated lands, this school lays the foundation of a [new] vision and dream for the future", he stressed. 

Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Kotzias, welcomed – during his presentation of the government’s Foreign Policy Statement in Parliament (October 7) - the reopening of the school as "a positive thing" for the development of Greek-Turkish relations.