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Finding the Island of Imbros: A Spatial History of Displacement and Emplacement

Ercan, Sevcan; (2020) Finding the Island of Imbros: A Spatial History of Displacement and Emplacement. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne was the final peace treaty which concluded the First World War. In recognising the borders of the new Turkish nation state amid the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, this treaty also determined that only two islands from among the hundreds which populated the Aegean would henceforth belong to Turkey. Located near the entrance to the Dardanelles, these two islands – Imbros and Tenedos – became Turkish territory under special conditions. The conditions stipulated by the Lausanne Treaty ensured that the native Rum (Anatolian Greek) communities – the main ethnic groups inhabiting both islands – would henceforth be acknowledged as an ethnic minority of Turkey, duly protected with administrative autonomy. In the meantime, a widespread and compulsory population exchange between Turkey and Greece began. This exchange was designated by the same treaty, but it exempted Imbros, Tenedos and Istanbul. It caused the displacement of approximately 1.5 million Rums, and with it, the creation of a seismic historical condition: one that continues to reverberate today. Until the 1960s Imbros’ Rums led their life on the island as a quiet minority within the Republic of Turkey, but conversely, as the majority group living upon it – a situation unprecedented among the other settlements within Turkey that maintained a Rum population after the 1923 exchange. However, during the 1960s and 1970s the Turkish state embarked upon an ambitious restructuring process on Imbros. This involved the construction of various public institutions and new settlements on expropriated Rum lands, vigorously displacing the Imbros Rums from their island in the process. Reshaped by such a multi-layered process, Imbros has become a highly illustrative case revealing how the phenomenon of displacement is entangled with the concepts of emplacement, diaspora and return. This thesis examines the spatial history of Imbros as a means to unpack the nature of this entanglement in detail, using the three different names for the island – İmroz, Gökçeada, Imbros – as a spatial and temporal framework for examining the phenomenon of displacement. Each name for the island is today employed by a different interest group involved in the history of displacement and emplacement on Imbros, meaning that each also presents us with a spatio-temporal layer associated with certain architectural and historical practices, and a tool for conducting research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Finding the Island of Imbros: A Spatial History of Displacement and Emplacement
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: displacement, emplacement, island, imbros, spatial history
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10095021
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