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Identity and memory of the Greek community of Smyrna

Abstract : Gavur Izmir, « infidel Izmir », as the Turks used to call her, the city with the great Ancient Greek, Hellenistic, and Byzantine heritage is undoubtedly a landmark of the Greek presence in minor Asia. Making up the majority, the Greek population was at the beginning of the 20th century composed by Greek Orthodox and Catholics, as well as by Turk- ish-speaking Orthodox Christians (karamanlides) and coverts to Islam, who coexist with Jews, Armenians and Muslims in one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world. Its occupation by the Greek army in 1919 and the Greek defeat three years later by Kemal Ataturk’s army resulted however to the massive exodus of more than 1 200 000 Greek refugees (prosfyges), from Ionia, Cappadocia, and from the Black Sea, and put a definitive end to the irredentist aspirations of the “Great Idea” (Megali Idea). This paper aims at revisiting the memory of what is perceived as the major “catastrophe” (katastrofi) in Greek history. We are going to examine its ideological premises both in historiography, for instance through the publication of studies, sources, and oral testimonies, and in collective memory. We will therefore try to in- quire into the multiplicity of identities and to analyse how this memory was constructed and transmitted, caught between the narrative of a unique legacy and its inscription into the national narrative, which remains largely nurtured by the nostalgia of the lost lands.
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Contributor : Servanne Jollivet <>
Submitted on : Sunday, December 27, 2020 - 6:49:45 PM
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Servanne Jollivet. Identity and memory of the Greek community of Smyrna. Michel Espagne; Güldür Gürtekin Demir; Stéphane Verger; Pinar Aydemir. Geçmişten Günümüze İzmir from Past to Present, Izmir Buyuksehir Belediyesi Kultur Yayini, pp. 263-277, 2017, 9789751802361. ⟨halshs-03089039⟩



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