A dramatic appeal for the future of the Education of Greeks in Constantinople was addressed to the Minister of Education of Turkey Nimet Cubukcu from the Podium of the Great School of the Nation, the Director of Zografeion Lyceum, Giannis Dermitzoglou. Ms. Cubukcu is the first Minister of Education of Turkey who, a few days ago attended a joint event of Diaspora schools at the Great School of the Nation.
The Director of Zografeion Lyceum, Giannis Demitzoglou, addressing the Minister of Education of Turkey, warned that “the education of Greeks of Constantinople has reached such a point, so that one day our schools will be forced to close down”. Mr. Dermitzoglou expressed two key requests to the Minister: a) Christian Orthodox people who live in Turkey and are not Greek, can have the right to attend our schools, b) Turkish citizens who wish to learn Greek to be able to attend our schools. If these requests are not fulfilled, “I see no future for the Education of Greeks” stressed Mr. Dermitzoglou in agony and noted that a significant part of the multicultural character of Constantinople must not be lost.
The Turkish Minister in her own speech merely stated that the solution to the problems will be achieved through the cooperation of the governments of Turkey and Greece within the framework of the Treaty of Lausanne! She added that from the new academic year 2010-2011 books for courses taught in Turkish will be given for free. Today, only eight Greek schools are occupying students in Turkey, whilst 12 are in “sleep mode”, without any students, occupying Turkish Deputy Directors appointed by the state, so that the schools will not be considered closed. In these 8 schools 240 students are currently attending, 18 out of whom are the children of Greek citizens working as diplomats in Constantinople, or as revocable teachers in schools of the Diaspora. 51% of the students are children of Arabic speaking Greek Orthodox Families from the Antioch region.
14-year-old Marina and the National Anthem of Turkey
The event in the Great School of the Nation held a “surprise” in store. A 14 year-old student, Marina from Imvros, recited the national anthem of Turkey. When she finished reciting the anthem, the Minister of Education of Turkey kissed her, hugged her and put her right next to her. As we were informed, last January Marina excelled in a competition for reciting the national anthem of Turkey, which took place among students of all schools in Constantinople. The image of the Minister with the girl, was featured at night in all Turkish channels and the following day it was a headline on Turkish Press. During the event, students of the schools of the Diaspora, sang before the Minister, compositions of Chatzidakis and Theodorakis and danced Greek traditional dances, earning the applause of the audience.