Greek community will build a second school in Gökçeada, a Turkish island in the Aegean Sea, hoping to attract families who migrated years ago.
The island near the province of Çanakkale and northwest of the Dardanelles (Çanakkale) Strait is home to a shrunken population of Greeks, as most Greek families left the place decades ago. A primary school was opened on the island in 2013 exclusively for Greek children, with its sponsors hoping the school would draw migrant families back to Gökçeada.
Now, a middle school and high school await state approval for opening this semester, which begins in September. The Ministry of National Education is expected to issue approval later this week.
İoakim Makis Kamburopulos, deputy chairman of a Greek foundation that finances the private primary school and two new schools, says the approval, not issued last year due to the technical shortcomings of the school, will likely be given this time. "We brought the school in line with all regulations required for opening of a school. It is ready for opening. We already have good relations with the local education authority and this speeds up the approval process," he says.
Kamburopulos said 10 families with children of school age living on the island expressed interest in enrolling their children. "We will likely have at least five students and I hope the number will be higher when new families settle on the island," he added. The primary school that opened in 2013 had only four students.
Gökçeada, Turkey's largest island, was once primarily inhabited by Greeks. A decade after its inception, the Republic of Turkey imposed a set of policies targeting minorities in the country. With their properties confiscated through legal amendments restricting property ownership and anti-minority sentiment gaining popularity, Greeks were forced to leave the country. Gökçeada now hosts a mixed population of Turkish and Greek-Turkish citizens with Turkish people dominating the population.