HomeGreeceMinister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the New Year’s cake...

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the New Year’s cake cutting of the Imbriot Association (Athens, January 16, 2021)

The following is the text of Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias’ address at the New Year’s cake cutting of the Imbriot Association, which was held online (Athens, January 16, 2021).

“Dear friends, members of the Imbros Greek community,

I would like to express my warm thanks for the honour of being invited to address the cutting of the New Year’s cake by the Imbriot Association.

I wish with all my heart good health, happiness and prosperity, to you and your families.

For many decades, the Imbriot Association has been engaged in a multi-faceted work, which has created the right conditions for many families to return to their ancestral homes. Through this important work, the historical Imbriot Association contributes to the substantial revival of Hellenism in Imbros, which, as we should always remember, constituted the overwhelming majority of the island’s inhabitants when the Treaty of Lausanne was signed.

Of course, the Association’s actions are supported by the committed and all-encompassing involvement, but also the constant interest in developments in Imbros, of His Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is of Imbrian descent.

Undoubtedly, the activity of the Ecumenical Patriarch, who completed 30 years of ministry on the Ecumenical Throne of the Holy and Great Church of Christ last year, is an important guarantee for the further strengthening of Hellenism in Imbros.

Similarly, of course, the tireless efforts of His Eminence Metropolitan Kyrillos of Imbros and Tenedos also contribute decisively to the improvement of the living conditions of the Greek community.

Allow me to note, however, that, despite the favourable climate that has developed in recent years, these actions should be of long-term duration. And in order to ensure their continuity, Turkish authorities need to do their bit.

I take this opportunity to underline that finally Turkey must fully respect the rights of the Greek minority in Imbros, Tenedos and Istanbul, by strictly implementing the Treaty of Lausanne.

It should fully implement the provisions of Article 14 of the Lausanne Treaty regarding the special administrative organisation and guarantees for the native non-Moslem population in so far as concerns local administration and the protection of persons and property.

At the same time, the neighbouring country should comply with international and European standards of respect for human rights and people belonging to minorities, such as the Resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (1625 / 27.6.2008), regarding property rights of the Greek minority in Imbros and Tenedos.

Dear friends, I would like once again to assure you that both I personally and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to assist you in your efforts to keep the collective memory of the Imbriots alive and restore injustices Hellenism in Imbros has suffered at the hands the Turkish authorities.

We will continue to stand by your side, employing any means at our disposal to achieve this goal.

We will continue, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, to care for the staffing of the Greek community schools in Imbros, which, thanks to your own efforts as well, now cover all three levels of school education. Similarly, we will continue to assist the settlement of new families on the island. And we will certainly continue, at every opportunity, to reiterate the commitments that Turkey has undertaken and highlight the injustices suffered by Hellenism in Imbros.

Undeniable evidence of our support is also the upcoming visit by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Andreas Katsaniotis to Imbros, where he will be given the opportunity to build up a more coherent picture on the ground and to hold discussions about the possibilities opening on further improvement in living conditions of the Greek community.

With these thoughts, I wholeheartedly wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year”.


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