The Greek -Armenian artist Hera Buyuktasciyan will present the history of the Greeks of Istanbul and their deportation in 1964 through a very interesting project entitled “20 Dollars, 20 Kilos” based on interviews of people who experienced the events first hand.
The Greek community of Istanbul had largely consisted of both Turkish and Greek citizens up until 1964. Although they didn’t care about the different citizenship, the Turkish state used it for political purposes during the Cyprus dispute. About 12,000 Greeks who had built a life and acquired property in Istanbul were violently deported from the country as a result of black propaganda campaigns launched by the Turkish media. Their bank accounts were frozen and properties seized.
Thousands of Greeks in Istanbul who had never been to Greece in their entire lives, were deported and were only allowed to take 20 kilos of baggage and 20 dollars with them. Fifty thousand exiles who were accused of being too Greek in Turkey and too Turkish in Greece, abandoned their homes and citizenship and never returned.
The project was coordinated by Salih Erturan and curated by Hera Büyüktaşcıyan. It is based on interviews with the victims conducted in Athens, Greece, the island of Imbros and Istanbul as well as documents, archive scans and various printed and visual materials related to that period.
The exhibition that will be held from March 5 to March 30, is very interesting as it presents not only historical events but also stories of separation, abandonment and stigmatization.