Istanbul's Greek-language newspaper nears 100 years

Istanbul's Greek-language newspaper nears 100 years
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'Apogevmatini' has chronicled the city's Greek community through decades of hardship.

Turkey's Greek-language newspaper "Apogevmatini," which will soon mark a century of publication in Istanbul, has witnessed the rich but often traumatic history of the city's dwindling Greek minority across ten decades of social and political upheaval.

The Greek magazine LiFO focuses on the historic newspaper in a detailed news article.

The article mentions that Apogevmatini was founded on July 12, 1925, by two Greek brothers whose pharmacy was shut down by new state regulations targeting minorities. With the help of a well-connected classmate, they secured one of the few publishing licenses granted to the Greek Orthodox community at the time.

The paper's first issue appeared just two days after its founding. Ever since, its pages have covered topics from geopolitics to Greek-Turkish relations, local news, and minority cultural events. It was delivered daily to most Greek households in Constantinople for generations, as the city was once known.

The paper has survived against immense odds - from shrinking readership as the Greek population declined to heavy state censorship. Today it prints around 600 copies distributed primarily in Istanbul's remaining Greek neighborhoods. A website was launched in 2007, and a digital subscription is available.

Apogevmatini has been published by the iconic Suriye Pasajı Gallery in central Istanbul for many years. Its original printing equipment is now displayed in the city's press museum. Ownership has changed several times, often passing between family members.

Current editor Minas Vassiliadis took over from his father and sought to keep the paper alive despite numerous challenges. He called it a "vigilant guardian," reminding Greeks in Istanbul of their endangered community.

Vassiliadis said Apogevmatini faces the same restrictions as other critical Turkish newspapers, resorting to self-censorship to avoid prosecution. But he said it provides a vital forum for Turkey's Greeks.

"The existence of a newspaper that has been printed in Greek for almost a century acts as a vigilant guardian, reminding the minority that it still exists," Vassiliadis told LiFO magazine.

*Photo provided by the LIFO.