Historical context

Ethnic diversity has been the status quo in Europe for longer than commonly assumed. In Greece and Asia Minor Greek- and Turkish-speaking communities had lived side by side for centuries, developing complex religious, social and linguistic identities.

Tragically, in the 20th century forced population movements became a way of solving ethnic and political conflicts. In 1923 the governments of Turkey and Greece signed a Convention Concerning the Exchange of Populations, as a result of which 2 million people were forcibly resettled. 1.5 million Turks resident in Greece and half a million Greeks from the Anatolian Peninsula were expelled from their homes. In a single day whole towns (like Misti in Cappadocia) ceased to exist. The social and emotional impact of this forced migration is still felt in both countries, almost a century later.

The establishment of nation states and standard languages, and the increased value given to ethnic, cultural and linguistic homogeneity stigmatized regional variation in modern Europe and also discouraged the study of multi-ethnic interactions across countries and languages. We aim to redress this balance.


Interviews with Anatolian immigrants


Recommended reading


Echoes of the past: Turkish, Venetian, and Greek

An exhibition at the Hellenic Centre, London, 27th October 2019.

Click here to view the exhibition online as a slideshow