Exchange of Populations

The 1923 Exchange of Populations between Greece and Turkey was based on religious identity, involving Orthodox Greek Christians of Turkey and Muslim citizens of Greece. It was a large-scale forced population exchange involving roughly two million persons: some 1.5 million Greeks from turkey and 500,000 Muslims from Greece. The majority of them became refugees, losing de jure the citizenship of the countries they were forced to leave. It was the only instance in world history when such an arrangement was dictated by an interstate convention. The exchange excluded the “Greek inhabitants of Constantinople” and “Muslim inhabitants of Western Thrace”, which explains the strong presence of the Muslims in that region today.

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