Exhibition Depicting Greeks' Removal from Turkish Island in 1964 Gets Cancelled Over Alleged Offensiveness

We Will Reunite: The 1964 Memory of Imbros

A scheduled exhibition portraying the expulsion of Greeks from Turkey's Imbros Island in 1964 has been cancelled following accusations on social media that it was offensive to the Turkish population.

According to a report by Gerçek Gündem news website on Wednesday, the exhibit, titled "We Will Reunite: The 1964 Memory of Imbros," was curated by journalist Melike Çapan and was intended to be held at the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I Museum on the island.

The decision to cancel the exhibition came after it was singled out on social media, with some users even issuing threats against Çapan. Bülent Aylı, the President of Gökçeada City Council, asserted in a press release that the event "offends Turks" and "challenges the spiritual identity of the state."

Aylı further stated, "If we encounter any aspect of this exhibition that goes against our state and people and is deemed offensive, we will take legal action... Our state and people cannot be undermined." Despite Çapan's efforts to clarify the exhibition's intent in a conversation with Aylı, he perceived the event's title as menacing.

Çapan, speaking to Gerçek Gündem, revealed that Aylı had even threatened to report her to the prosecutor's office if the exhibition proceeded. Fearing any potential harm to the Greek community, both on the island and in Istanbul, she ultimately decided to cancel the exhibition.

Imbros Island's Greek population had long been an integral part of the island's cultural and historical tapestry. However, the aftermath of various conflicts and geopolitical changes led to upheaval for the Greek inhabitants. In the early 20th century, after the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922) and the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which mandated a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, many Greek residents of Imbros were compelled to relocate to Greece. In turn, Turkish individuals from Greece were resettled in Turkey.

Even after the population exchange, the Greek community on Imbros faced ongoing challenges. The persisting tensions between Greece and Turkey brought about further hardships. In 1964, due to political and security concerns, a number of Greek inhabitants were forcibly expelled from the island, exacerbating the strained relations between the two countries.

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