For the first time in the last 50 years the Greek population of Istanbul is rising as they are no longer leaving their city but staying, as Independent Balkan News Agency reports.
Influenced by the economic crisis plaguing Greece, Greeks are leaving their homes and moving to Istanbul; a city with 15 million population that has experienced rapid economic growth lately.
Many of them are opening their own businesses or work for companies in an attempt to escape the scourge of unemployment and recession in Greece.
Meanwhile, dozens of students are studying at Turkish universities. Some learn the Turkish language while others attend English-speaking courses in private universities.
Rough estimates indicate 800 to 1,000 Greeks have already moved to Istanbul, raising the Greek community population that had fallen to 2,500 recently from 150,000 in 1923.
This incoming flow gives hope to the Ecumenical Patriarchate that has for many years observed the Greek population of Istanbul drop rapidly. Greek presence in Istanbul and economic relations have boosted also airline traffic between Greece and Turkey.
Eight return flights are scheduled daily on the Athens-Istanbul route by Turkish Airlines and Aegean Airlines.
Meanwhile, 38 Greeks are currently employed by Turkish Airlines as Greek pilots left their jobs in Greece and now work for companies in the neighboring country.
There are also flights from Thessaloniki to Istanbul, two times a day as well as daily bus routes from Athens to Istanbul.
(source: Balkan News Agency)