Nikolaos Karanikolas, a Turkish citizen of Greek origin who lives permanently in the island of Imvros, was appointed to the municipal police.
Karanikolas applied for the post last April and the island’s Mayor Cetin Unal approved his position in March 2014.
“I am very happy that I work in the municipality. God bless our mayor,” he told the Turkish newspaper Zaman. He said that his colleagues treat him nicely and they are like a family, stating that so far he hasn’t faced any difficulty because of his origin.
Mayor Unal said that Karanikolas’ appointment promotes the Greek-Turkish friendship, adding that the Greek population of the island appreciated that a Greek was appointed to the police.
The islands of Imvros and Tenedos once belonged to Greece and were ceded to Turkey, according to the Treaty of Lausanne, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. The treaty called for a quasi-autonomous administration to accommodate the local Greek population and excluded the Greeks on the two islands from the wider population exchanges that took place between Greece and Turkey.
However, the terms were violated and the Greeks living in the islands were forced to abandon their homes. Currently, the remaining Greek residents on the two islands are mostly elders.
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