The Greek in me

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  • Published 20051104
  • ISBN: 9780733314544
  • Extent: 268 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

MY FATHER IS George, a Greek refugee from Turkey. That requires some explanation. Until 1922, the western coastline of Turkey was occu­pied not only by the Turks but by several million Greeks, Turkish citizens of Greek descent to be precise, who lived lives of occasional conflict but mostly of commerce and industry. In the town where George was born, Ayasalouk, this meant a world of figs, sultanas and tobacco. His father owned some estates and enterprises of middling value: fig orchards, vine­yards, the local bakery, a hostelry. The crumbling ruins of Ephesus were within sight. All far removed from the Levantine hyperactivity of Alexan­dria, or Beirut, where wealthy French opera stars mingled with cool German spies.

To cut a long story short, as George would say, the mainland Greeks invaded Turkey in 1919 to reclaim the Holy Grail, the city of Constantinople, but got only halfway before the Turks pushed them back into the sea. This was the world after the Great War: shuffling boundaries, staking claims, losing and winning, and the ragged millions who weren’t consulted.

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About the author

Tony Maniaty

Tony Maniaty was born to a Greek father and an Anglo-Australian mother. His early life was spent in and around the family's corner stores.During...

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