Turkey: Greek community's Virgin Mary Festival in Imvros cancelled due to complaints

turkey Imvros Imbros Virgin Mary Festival 2021

A traditional Greek festival dedicated to Virgin Mary in the island of Imvros (officially Gökçeada) was cancelled by the organisers after they had received complaints about the fair were filed through the Turkish Presidency Communications Center (CIMER).

The festival, that was to begin on 15 August, was expected to attract hundreds of visitors from Greece and various parts of Turkey, Gerçek News reported.

The organiser, Imvros Education and Culture Association, said in a statement:

"After we made all preparations for the fair and received permission from the Gokceada Governor's Office for the organisation, we have unfortunately learned that several complaints were made against the fair. We want to state that we do not approve attempts to commercialise our fair that has been held collectively for centuries."

It was earlier announced by the association that all the income of the festival would be spent for educational purposes and for the needs of the Agridia neighbourhood (officially Tepeköy) that would host the festival.

The festival is one of the two traditional Greek fairs that still continue to be held in Turkey. The other one is held in the island of Tenedos (officially Bozcaada).

Most Greek festivals have disappeared in the course of a century as the Greek culture to the east of the Aegean Sea faded out after Greek communities were wiped out through genocide and a population exchange between 1913-1923.

The island of Imvros that had an ethnic Greek population of over 9,300 and only 99 Muslims in 1893. In 2018, the Greek population was only 420, while the Muslim population increased to 8,983.

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